January 29, 2013 |

L.S. High School students participate in Legion Speech Contest

Rylie Ploeger, a senior at Lake Stevens High School, was selected as a finalist in The American Legion Constitutional Contest held Saturday, Jan. 19, in Moses Lake.

Department of Washington finalists after the quarter-/semi-finals Saturday at Big Bend Community College, Moses Lake, WA  L to R: Chairman Mike Montaney, Department Oratorical Speech Contest; Commander Loren Sperry, Department of Washington American Legion; President Hanny Elston, Department of Washington Auxiliary; Dulcinea Camp; Rylie Ploeger, senior, Lake Stevens High School; Rachel Sullivan; Zain Abid.

Ploeger will now compete for the scholarship money on February 2 at the SeaTac Marriott Hotel during The American Legion Department Mid-Winter Convention.

The presentations by the finalists are the highlight of the convention. The public is invited.

Ploeger was one of 17 high-school students from around the state who was certified locally and was invited to compete at Big Bend Community College. This contest is open to any High School student in the state of Washington, but history has proven that few will commit to the time and energy required to make it to the first round.

Ploeger not only took this challenge, she has succeeded by making it to the finals.

As a finalist, she will earn one of four scholarships: 1st place is $2,000; 2nd place is $1,500, 3rd place is $1,000, and 4th place is $500.

The first-place winner will represent Washington at the national competition in Indianapolis later in April. Students from around the country will work to earn some of the $138,000 scholarship money that is awarded each year.

She was certified and sponsored by Lake Stevens American Legion Auxiliary Unit 181.

Ploeger’s supporters at the contest were her dad and mom Ken and Reshal Ploeger, her brother Hayden, Unit 181 members Karen Morea, Joyce Rasmussen, Eva Wallace, and Jan Sperry, and Post 181 members Tom Thorleifson, Bob Wallace, and Loren Sperry.

The Constitutional Speech Contest, also known as the Oratorical Speech Contest, is a national scholarship program originated by The American Legion in 1938. The purpose is to encourage and reward students for developing their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and for expressing their understanding in a formal setting.

She delivered a 9-minute speech titled “American Impartiality” two times. She also spoke for three minutes on the 2nd Amendment, but was only given five minutes to prepare for this topic, then later she spoke three minutes on the 22nd Amendment. Contestants were not allowed any notes or prompts or the use of a sound system.

For more information on this scholarship contest, go to: http://www.waconstitutionalspeechcontest.org.

For more information on attending the presentations, email: commander@post181.org.

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