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Friendsville youth places third in national speech contest

Earns $14K scholarship from American Legion

KNOXVILLE – Eden Carnes of Friendsville capped a busy weekend of competition in Indianapolis. Caries earned a $14,000 college scholarship and third place in The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program – “A Constitutional Speech Contest.” First place finisher Patrick Junker of Waukee, Iowa, earned an $18,000 scholarship and Caleb Maue of Homer Glen, Ill., earned a $16,000 scholarship with his second-place finish.

Carnes’ prepared oration was titled “One Person’s Vote Really Can Change History.” She started the weekend as one of 53 state or territorial champions in the 82nd annual contest and advanced to the final three, through three rounds of intense competition before finishing third in this morning’s finals. Carnes lives in Friendsville, Tenn., where she is home-schooled as a high school freshman. She was sponsored by American Legion Post 70 in Lenoir City, Tenn.

During her prepared speech, Carnes went over the history of the women’s suffrage in the United States and pointed out that one voter in the Tennessee legislature broke a 48-48 deadlock to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “This one vote mattered in that it changed the course of our nation’s history,” she said, before promising that she too will vote when she turns 18.

In each round of the weekend competition, orators delivered a rehearsed 8- to10-minute address and a randomly assigned 3- to 5-minute oration on a constitutional topic, each without the benefit of notes and in front of a live audience, including the judges. The 2-million member American Legion developed the contest to encourage young people to improve their communications skills and to study the U.S. Constitution. More than $3 million in scholarships have been awarded over the history of the contest.

Published April 10, 2019

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