The Roundup -

Winner Of American Legion State Oratorical Speech Contest Off To Nationals


Left to right: Jerry Samuelson, American Legion Oratorical Chairman, Iida Lehto, North Dakota State Champion for American Legion Oratorical Speech Contest, and Bud Goldsmith, ND American Legion Department Commander.

Saturday, January 30th 2015, sophomore Iida Lehto of Watford City, ND took 1st at the American Legion's Statewide Oratorical Speech Contest on the United States Constitution. Previous to the state competition, Lehto dominated at both local and regional competitions; now after winning state, she will be on her way to compete at Nationals April 15-16 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Oratorical Speech Contest is where contestants present an 8-10 minute speech on a section of the Constitution of their choice. Lehto's speech tells the story of the Constitution from the perspective of the first three words, "We the People". Lehto's goal is to try and get people to look at the Constitution as the way the people want their public servants to work for them, because that is what the Constitution is; a charter to allow government to exist provided it serves the "general welfare" of the people, and the other purposes that are listed in the Preamble of the Constitution.

Lehto has received $1,900 in scholarship money for her wins in the competition so far, and she will receive another $1,500 at Nationals just for participating. At Nationals, Lehto will present her 8-10 minute speech, and later have to present a 3-5 minute speech on 1 of 4 amendments randomly drawn from a hat. 1st place winner at Nationals will receive a scholarship for $18,000.

Lehto is also an outstanding student. She has many speech and drama awards from 2014 to present, is on varsity basketball as a sophomore, and is a 4.0 student with highest honors.


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