Home Local News Richmond Senior student advances to 2nd round of American Legion Oratorical Contest

Richmond Senior student advances to 2nd round of American Legion Oratorical Contest

Jude Howard, center, stands with parents Julie and Joel Howard, after winning the first round of the American Legion’s Oratorical Contest.
Contributed photo

ROCKINGHAM — A Richmond Senior High School student is on his way to the second round of the American Legion’s Oratorical Contest.

Senior Jude Howard won the district contest this past Saturday at Montgomery Community College in Troy,

Howard would have been competing against other students in Montgomery, Moore and Hoke counties, but Carlton Hawkins, commander of American Legion Post 147 in Rockingham, said he was the only one of three students to show up.

This coming weekend, Howard will compete in the division contest at American Legion Post 51 in Concord.

The contest, according to Hawkins, is two-fold.

The first part involves an eight to 10-minute speech on what it means to be a citizen under the U.S. Constitution, according to the American Legion Department of North Carolina website.

After that, Howard will have to give a three- to five-minute speech on an assigned topic related to the Constitution.

The topics for 2022, according to the American Legion national website, revolve around the Third Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, and Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.

The Oratorical Contest, which started in 1938, is open to high school students under age 20.

Each state winner who is eligible for the first round of the national contest is awarded a $2,000 scholarship and those who make it past the first round receive an additional $2,000 scholarship, according to the national website. The top winners in the national contest are awarded scholarships of $20,000 for third place, $22,500 for second and $25,000 for first.


“He’s very good,” Hawkins said of Howard. “He’s very capable of winning this next round.”

Hawkins has been working with Richmond County’s participants for several years to help them prepare for the competition. He said he has met with Howard twice a week for the past month to make sure he’s ready.

Howard, son of Joel and Julie Howard, is president of the student senate, a member of the Beta Club and a pitcher for the RSHS baseball team. He also served as chief junior marshal for last year’s graduation and has made the honors lists at both the high school and Richmond Community College.

If Howard wins the division contest, he will move on to the state competition slated for March 4 at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro.

Richmond County’s Maggi Chambers won the state contest in 2017 and advanced to nationals, finishing seventh, Hawkins said.


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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.