Scituate Students Showcase Public Speaking Skills

Molly Ryan and Grace Scott qualify for state finals in the American Legion Competition


Mia Peterson, Staff Writer

For the past several years, the American Legion, the largest organization of retired veterans, has provided high school students with the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution through a public speaking competition. The contest is held in three different rounds: school, regional, and state. This year, two SHS students successfully qualified for the state-level of competition.

To compete, students have to memorize an 8-10 minute speech that addresses one component of the Constitution. In addition, students must be very familiar with four additional parts of the Constitution. The goal of the competition is to educate high school students about the Constitution as well as the U.S. government.

Several SHS students spent long hours preparing for this year’s competition. Class of 2021 president, Grace Scott, and sophomore Molly Ryan had successful runs, coming in first and fourth in different rounds of the contest. 

Ryan, who placed first in the school round of the competition, explained that she spent “about two weeks in December to prepare for the first round of the competition.” She then was given another two weeks to prepare for the following round–as well as three weeks for the final round. Ryan said she “chose to write about how the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was ratified through women effectively utilizing the 1st Amendment.” 

Scott chose to participate in the competition because of her love for civics: “I’m a big fan of the Constitution,” she said. In her speech, Scott chose to talk about the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Highlight the 10th Amendment, Scott advanced to the final round and won at the state competition, taking home $5,000 in scholarship money. Scott remarked that her favorite part of the experience was “getting to meet different veterans and hearing all their stories.”

Both Ryan and Scott expressed their gratitude to the American Legion for hosting the competition–especially in light of the challenges of the past year. Ryan said she is “so thankful for programs like the American Legion that provide the high school with generous scholarships and public speaking opportunities.” Ryan added, “Hard work pays off.”

Scott said she was “just happy to participate,” explaining that she is “thankful that the American Legion put it on because it was a great opportunity.”