Emma Raisanen advances to American Legion State Oratorical Contest

Emma is the first Rapid City representative in 50 years to compete in the American Legion’s Oratorical Contest.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Emma Raisanen received the Americanism Award from the American Legion Post 22 in middle school. Now, fast-forward to high school, where Emma entered the Legion’s Oratorical Contest.

Emma Raisanen

Emma Raisanen

Emma recently won on the local level (among Rapid City students) and the district level, competing with surrounding area schools.

The contest was developed primarily to instill a better knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States in high school students.

American Legion Contest

The student drafts and memorizes an eight – 10 minute speech about the Constitution and is assigned four topics within the Constitution.

Coincidentally, Emma was taking U.S. history the same time she was writing the speech, which in turn helped her research.

Oratorical Contest

Raisanen says, “I think my speech is good and that my speech kind of reflects on what our country is like today even, it relates to something that happening right now.”

She also gained self confidence and speaking skills out of the process, and says that she tapped into her musicality when it came to memorization.

“I do play an instrument, so I kind of take it in the mindset of a musician and just try to remember one paragraph at a time,” she added.

Emma spent about 80 hours researching, writing, and practicing her speech.

Emma Raisanen

Emma Raisanen

She will compete at the state level competition at end of February in Oacoma. If she wins there, she will move on to the national level, where the winner takes home a $25,000 scholarship.

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