Scottsdale Independent

Pinnacle senior advances to national American Legion Oratorical Contest

The American Legion Department of Arizona has announced that 11 students — including Pinnacle High School senior Kylie Cochrane — from across Arizona were awarded more than $7,600 in prize money for their participation in the 2018 American Legion Oratorical Contest.

In addition to her $700 in winnings from the earlier competitions, Miss Cochrane was awarded $1,500 for her first-place finish in the state competition, according to a press release.

Pinnacle senior Kylie Cochrane. (Submitted Photo)

Miss Cochrane will proceed to the national contest taking place in Indianapolis April 13-15 where contestants will compete for $123,000 in scholarships.

The contest will be at the Wyndham Indianapolis West hotel where 53 students will deliver speeches on the U.S. Constitution in up to three rounds of competition. All students participating in the first round receive a $1,500 scholarship.

Nine students advance to the second round and receive an additional $1,500 unless they become one of the three finalists in the third round. Following the third round, the overall national contest first place winner will receive an $18,000 scholarship.

Second and third place take home $16,000 and $14,000, respectively. The scholarship monies awarded can be used at any college or university in the United States.

At the state level, Miss Cochrane competed against students across the state. The original field of 20 District level participants was narrowed down through two levels of competition to six for the state finals contest which was Saturday, March 3 in Ahwatukee.

At the finals six judges, including American Legion Auxiliary Department of Arizona President Yolanda Bonilla, rated each participant on content and presentation.

“It is so thrilling to listen to these poised competitors”, Ms. Bonilla said in a prepared statement. “They are so well versed on the fine points of the Constitution. They continue to make our American Legion Family proud.”

Arizona has had three national first place winners and one national third place winner in the 81 years it has participated in national competition, a release states.

The National Finals Round will be streamed live at Sunday, April 15, at 7 a.m. Arizona time.