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Desi Whalen wins fourth in state oratorical contest
Desi Whalen won fourth place and $500 at the Washington State American Legion Oratorical Contest.
Desi, the daughter of Carol Whalen and Ron Whalen, both of Friday Harbor, is a junior at Friday Harbor High School.
In addition, Desi received offers for speech coaching from some of the staff at the contest. "I plan to enter the contest again next year," Desi said. Since the Washington state winner this year had entered the contest several times before, Desi believes the experience will help her to go further next year.
Sponsored by the National American Legion, high school students who compete in the oratorical contest must prepare and present an eight- to 10-minute speech on some aspect of the Constitution of the United States with emphasis on the duties and obligations of a citizen to our government.
Scholarships are awarded to the winners at the state and national level. The winner of the state level receives an all expense paid trip to Indianapolis to compete in the national contest for over $250,000 in scholarships and prize money.
The highly competitive Oratorical Contest began with preliminary rounds on Jan. 23. Desi was selected as one of the finalists to compete in the final rounds on Feb. 6.
"We're really proud of Desi and her accomplishment," said Minnie Knych. "This is the first time that Post 163 has had an entry in the contest, but we certainly hope to sponsor more contestants in the future. The Oratorical Contest provides a great opportunity for students to learn and to win prize money and scholarships."
The local Post 163 American Legion pays the expenses for students to travel with a parent to the events. Any high school student who wants to enter next year's competition should call Knych at 378-4662. It is never too early to prepare.