Jacob Groninga

Jacob Groninga, a student at Trinity Preparatory Academy, placed first at the American Legion First Division Oratorical Competition on Feb. 6 at the Denton County Courthouse on the Square. Here, he poses with Denton’s Post 71 commander, Forrest Beadle.

Denton high school student Jacob Groninga placed first at the American Legion First Division Oratorical Competition earlier this month at the Denton County Courthouse on the Square. The competition was hosted by Denton’s Post 71.

Groninga, of Post 655, District 12, will represent the First Division at the State Oratorical Competition in San Antonio. He is a student at Trinity Preparatory Academy and received scholarships of $150 at the District 12 Competition and $750 at the Division 1 Competition on Feb. 6.

J.B. Lilley of Coram Deo Academy (Post 71, District 13) took second place, and Harbani Kohli of Reedy High School (Post 178, District 4) placed third.

Denton Mayor Gerard Hudspeth and Denton City Council member Jesse Davis were among the panel of judges.

The oratorical contest is an 83-year-old tradition in which students present an eight- to 10-minute speech on the responsibilities of American citizens to the government, drawing thorough knowledge from the Constitution.

At the state level, the American Legion will award scholarships of $2,000, $1,500, $1,000 and $500 for first through fourth place.

The state champion will advance to the national competition in Indianapolis in early April. The top three national winners receive scholarships of $25,000, $22,500 and $20,000.

For more information on this historic competition, visit legion.org or contact your local American Legion post.

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