The Eastern Section Oratorical Contest sponsored by the Pa. American Legion was held Saturday in the Jim Thorpe Area High School auditorium.

The oratorical contest is open to all eligible students from the 9th to 12th grades.

Three students took part in Saturday's competition the theme of which was the same as it is every year the Constitution.

The contestants were presented anonymously to those in attendance, identified simply as contestants 1, 2, and 3.

Those present were asked to please turn off all beepers, pagers and cell phones and to refrain from taking pictures during each speaker's presentation so as not to cause them any undue distractions.

The event began with an Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance followed by a reading of the rules of the contest.

The first speaker was Lydia Johnson from Pholadelphia who was sponsored by Post 829- 1st District.

The second speaker was Chloe Schultz from Northampton who was sponsored by Post 353- 30th District.

The third speaker was Dianna Dragonetti from Broomall who was sponsored by Post 805- 8th District.

While each contestant's primary speech was of a prepared subject of their own choosing, they were then each given the same Constitution-based subject to speak on for a five minute follow-up speech.

The winner of this year's Eastern Section Oratorical Contest was Dianna Dragonetti, with Lydia Johnson finishing second, and Chloe Schultz in third place.

Dianna will now move on to the State Oratorical Contest which will be held in Harrisburg.

The winner of that competition will then go on to the National Oratorical Contest will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The winners of the state competition will be competing for prizes of $7,500 for 1st place, $5,000 for 2nd place, and $4,000 for 3rd place.

In the national contest, the prize amounts will be $18,000 for 1st place, $16,000 for 2nd place, and $14,000 for 3rd place.

Most Districts also usually award prizes from the Post, County, and District in local competitions.

Judges for the event were William O'Gurek, Joseph Matika, John Marchione, Marianne Monteleone, and William O'Donnell.

The event was moderated by Past Department Chairman Oratorical, Harry J. Wynn III of Post 314 in Lehighton.

For further information about the Oratorical Contest, contact your local American Legion Post.