On Sunday, January 7th, three KAA students competed in the American Legion Post 270 Oratorical Contest in McLean. They were Tim Hakim (11th Grade); Zaina Naffa (10th Grade); and Sarah Selim (10th Grade).
This contest is an annual one, but this is the first time KAA students have done this well.
Preparing for this speech contest was unusually difficult. Each competing student had to prepare and deliver an 8 – 10 minute speech on the U.S. Constitution and then a 3 – 5 minute speech on one of four possible amendments: 2nd Amendment, 5th Amendment, 23rd Amendment, or Section 3 of the 25th Amendment. Because the students were not told which amendment would be chosen, each student had to arrive prepared to deliver five separate speeches! The one chosen by a member of the audience (Jood Boker) was the 25th Amendment, Section 3. This amendment covers the transfer of executive power from the President to the Vice President upon him notifying Congress of his imminent incapacitation.
The audience consisted of about 50 people: Legionnaires, parents, and 15 KAA students who came to support their classmates!
The 1st Place winner was Sophia Bongiovi, a senior at Langley High School. This was her second time competing in this competition. For winning 1st Place, she was awarded a $300 check and will now represent McLean at the 17th District Oratorical Contest in Fairfax against winners of contests in other communities on January 21st.
The 2nd Place winner was Tim Hakim (11th Grade). For coming in 2nd Place, he was awarded a check for $200. He spoke about people’s digital footprints and how the concept of privacy has changed since the British used Writs of Assistance to forcibly enter Colonists’ homes over 200 years ago. In his speech about the 25th Amendment, he used humor well, getting the audience to laugh out loud a few times, and made great use of presidential quotes. Tim said that he had fun, and that it was a good experience. He promised that he “will do it again next year.”
Coming in 3rd Place was Zaina Naffa (10th Grade). For coming in 3rd Place, she was awarded a check for $100. In her speech, she focused on the importance of whistle blowers, using the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War as an example. After the competition was over, Zaina said that “I cried a lot about it, but it was fun. I’m glad I did it, even if I didn’t win.”
The 4th Place winner was Sarah Selim (10th Grade). Her passionate speech about the ongoing violence in Gaza, Iraq, and Afghanistan brought some audience members to tears. Sarah educated the audience on how Section 3 of the 25th Amendment focused on a planned incapacitation of the President (for upcoming surgery, for example), versus Section 4’s focus, which is on an unplanned incapacitation (such as being shot). Sarah said that “the American Legion Oratory Contest is a good opportunity to practice speaking on what is important to you, especially when many people in the audience have the power to affect our government.”
All of the contestants were exceptional. Selecting the winners was extremely difficult.
Toastmasters International provided judges for the contest.
We are extremely proud of these students and hope that they will compete again next year. Inshaa Allah, we will have a 1st Place winner next year!