American Legion Oratorical Competition

The 18th Annual Contest

American+Legion+Oratorical+Competition

Gabriel Donaghy, Staff Writer

On November 30, an event was held in the Medina Valley High School library. Though many may not have known about it, it was a great event that reminded those in attendance what it means to be an American.

The event was the American Legion Oratorical Contest. This event was held in front of the Castroville-based Legion Post 460, judged by four former members of the United States military whose record most would only dream of having. Aside from the members of Post 460, there were some staff members, some administrators, the superintendent, and the candidates: seniors Aya Kasim and Ameenah Wilson. After the opening proceedings had commenced, these two went up to give their speeches one at a time. 

First up was Kasim, who gave an exhilarating speech where she opened with her first memories of moving to America, brilliantly illustrating each scene of her story before moving on to the topic of liberty and what it truly means to live in this land of liberty.

 

“I believe it is very important to understand and fulfill our responsibilities as citizens. Maintaining a good government is not passive, we must continuously invest in it through our actions,” Kasim said. 

 

Throughout the speech, she eloquated memorable mottos one could live by such as “Every selfless act you make is a memorial to your memory” or articulate analogies using former leaders as examples. She then topped off the speech at the end by referring back to the colors she used at the beginning of the speech, contrasting her departure from Baghdad to her arrival in America by once again highlighting the shining colors of our country. When asked why she chose to lead with a personal story she had this to say, “I led with a personal story because I think my story is unique enough to inspire. Especially with a veteran audience, if my story can provide a new, positive perspective of Middle Eastern immigrants, I am content.”

Not long after, came Wilson’s speech, a spectacular speech that highlighted the duty each of us has as an American to hold to our three sacred obligations. What may those be, do you ask? Well, Wilson perfectly outlined them as the following:

  1. Being identifiable by getting a social security card, a driver’s license, and registering to vote.
  2. Serving your civic duties by voting, volunteering, and other things to help your country.
  3. Voicing yourself for the issues you care about in more ways than just voting.

When asked about why she picked the topic and why she picked to highlight those duties, she said “I wanted to highlight the importance of the relationship we have with our government and I felt they were the most fundamental part for us as citizens.” 

Her content and speaking were magnificent and the audience could feel the energy she brought as she went up to the metaphorical stage.

 

 “[I felt] very excited, very confident and excited to speak to an audience!” Wilson said. 

When it came down to the results, it was Aya Kasim who went away with the victory, though both speeches were on par, the four judges preferred Kasim’s speech, whether it was for her content, speech ability, or just downright preferred it, we may never know. However, I do know two things: both speeches were great and I enjoyed listening to both, Kasim’s to be inspired and Wilson’s to learn. And the second thing is that more people should participate in this competition, with two great speeches this year I could only imagine the next if more people participated. But that is an article for another school year. As for this school year, Kasim will be advancing to the next stage on January 9th, going on to spread both the good name of Medina Valley as well as America.