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Senior Cao participates in American Legion scholarship program

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Senior Patrick Cao placed fifth in the American Legion High School Oratorical Contest.

Senior Patrick Cao placed fifth in the American Legion High School Oratorical Contest.

Senior Patrick Cao placed fifth in the American Legion High School Oratorical Contest.

Konrad Messyasz, Staff Writer

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Senior Patrick Cao took part in the 2018 American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program for Bergen County on January 21 and placed fifth. The event took place in Rochelle Park at the American Legion Post 170.

Patrick was chosen to enter the contest by his public speaking instructor, Mrs. Lonergan. “I specifically decided on choosing Patrick because I knew that he would be up for the challenge,” said his teacher.

Before the contest, the contestants were instructed to create and memorize an 8-minute speech about a randomly assigned Constitutional Amendment. They were also tasked to follow up by presenting a shorter three to five minute improvised speech on a separate amendment. The first place winner would win a reward of 500 dollars and move on to the state championship for New Jersey.

Patrick’s speech centered around the importance of the First Amendment and how United States citizens should be more involved in their government by taking the time to vote and exercise their rights. His improvised speech was about the Second Amendment.  

“I wrote and practiced the speech two months prior to the main event and was confident that I would place higher. I would consider entering again with the knowledge of making my speech more factual as that is what they seemed to value most,” Patrick explained.

At the event, the Becton senior faced against nine other competitors. The first place winner was Simona Vigodner followed by Clarissa Van Sickel, and Kleidon Ndrou who took second and third place respectively.

“I felt that Patrick’s speech definitely deserved to be in the top three. He was very calm and collected and never stuttered. Second and third place both felt sluggish and weak in comparison; however, I do believe that Simona Vigodner deserved to have the first place spot,” said Mrs. Lonergan.

“One contestant who stood out to me was Ethan Zurich. He had a very intuitive and well executed speech that compared music to politics. I believed that it would get in the top three; however, it shockingly placed ninth,” stated Patrick.

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Senior Cao participates in American Legion scholarship program