Long Trail School sophomore wins state speech contest

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MANCHESTER — Avery Carter, a sophomore at Long Trail School in Dorset, is the American Legion Vermont State Oratorical Champion after winning the title on March 2 at the VA Medical Center in White River Junction.

Carter, the daughter of Jamie and Philip Carter of Manchester, will now move on to represent the American Legion Department of Vermont at the national championship in Indianapolis in April.

Karlene DeVine, chair of the oratorical program, for the American Legion Department of Vermont said competitors had to give a prepared 8- to 10-minute oration as well as another 3- to 5-minute oration on Article 21 of the U.S. Constitution.

The speeches emphasize a citizen's duties and obligations to our government under the Constitution.

"I am honored to have had the opportunity to share my ideas on our Constitution and I hope to raise awareness on its importance," Carter said.

The shorter speech topic was drawn from a hat from among four assigned topics just 5 minutes before the speech was to be given.

Article 21 is the amendment that appealed the prohibition amendment. It's the only amendment that repeals another amendment in the Constitution.

"They have to address the citizens duties and responsibilities under the constitution," DeVine said. "These kids are creative, future leaders for sure."

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To qualify for the statewide competition, Carter had to progress through the ranks from the local, post and district level, which includes Bennington and Rutland counties.

Carter picked up a $1,500 college scholarship for her win, and can earn additional $1,500 scholarships as she progresses through the rounds at the national competition.

At nationals, each state sends a representative, along with France, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

If she finishes in the top three from among the expected 52 to 54 competitors she will win scholarships ranging from $14,000 to $18,000.

This is Carter's second time competing at the state level.

"She finished second last year as a freshman, which is pretty daunting," DeVine said. "You can see the growth."

A speech coach said competitors spend 50 to 100 hours to prepare for this contest, and Carter said she put in close to 100 hours preparing for the event.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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