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Albion student advances to state finals for American Legion Oratorical Contest

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 February 2018 at 11:01 am

Provided photo: Zone 5 Vice Chairman Norma Weissend congratulates Melissa Barnosky after she took first place on Saturday at the American Legion Zone 5 Oratorical Contest in Mount Morris.

MOUNT MORRIS – For the third straight year an Albion student has advanced to the state competition for the American Oratorical Contest.

Melissa Barnosky took first place on Saturday at the Zone 5 competition at Mount Morris. Barnosky, a senior at Albion, also advanced to the state contest last year. Meredith Patterson made it in 2016.

Barnosky competed against three other students and moves on to the finals in Albany on March 3. If she wins the state contest, she will advance to the national finals in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 14-15.

Melissa won at the school and county levels. She came in second at the district level to qualify for the zone competition. She received an $800 scholarship for winning first place at Zone 5.

Students in the competition deliver a prepared speech on the U.S. Constitution and citizen duties and obligations to the government. The speech must be 8-10 minutes in length. If it is over or under, there are penalty points.

The students also prepare for several assigned topics on various amendments. The students do not know which assigned topic they will have to present until 5 minutes prior. The assigned topic is randomly chosen by one of the members. Then the contestant is informed of the topic.  The speech needs to be 3 to 5 minutes in length without penalty points.

The assigned topic was on the 2nd amendment –  “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Melissa was escorted to the event on Saturday by Gary Befus, a member of the American Legion in Albion. Rich Gannon, an Albion social studies teacher, is the Oratorical Contest advisor for Albion.

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