INDIANAPOLIS – Three rounds of competition, 51 other competitors, and several passionate speeches made up the competition that confronted a Meridian teenager this weekend.
Charles K. Baines, a high school senior from Meridian, rose to the challenge to earn second place in the American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program.
The 75th year of the competition encouraged high school students to improve their communications skills and to study the U.S. Constitution. As part of each round of competition, facing an audience without any notes or scripts, student orators delivered a rehearsed 8-to 10-minute address, and also gave a 3- to 5-minute oration on a randomly assigned constitutional topic.
Baines’ speech, titled “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” addressed how he saw some politicians circumventing the Constitution. He also stressed how important it was for people to get involved.
“The fences created by our Constitution are the most important protective barriers that our founders could have given us to defend our liberties and rights,” Baines said in his speech. “To maintain those fences, citizens must participate in the process, understand our constitutional form of government, and educate the American youth in the blessings, rights, and privileges granted by our Constitution.”
Baines attends Arts West School in Eagle. For his second place win, he earned a $16,000 college scholarship.