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Seward High’s Esten Johnsen Wins District 12 American Legion Oratorical Contest

Seward High Junior, Esten Johnsen was declared the winner in the recent American Legion District 12 Oratorical contest on Sunday, November 05, 2023 at 2:00 pm.  It was held at the Seward Civic Center basement.  He is the son of Angela and Steven Johnsen of rural Seward.  The contest required Esten to write and present a ten minute, memorized speech on some aspect of the US Constitution and then draw one of four US Constitution Amendments and speak extemporaneously on that amendment for three to five minutes.  His speech was titled “We the People!”

Martin Neal of Hickman, the American Legion District 12 Commander welcomed the group on behalf of the Legion.  He also presented a specially prepared certificate of appreciation to longtime supporter of the District 12 Oratorical Program –Clark Kolterman in appreciation for his work to keep District 12 represented in the Area and State Contest. 

Local Seward American Legion Post 33 Commander-Joe Ruzicka welcomed the group to Seward.  He saluted the youth involved in the contest and thanked them for their participation.  District 12 Oratorical Contest Chair, Ken Meyer of Seward served as the speakers escort to and from the preparation room. 

Esten’s speech on the constitution was title “We the People!”   He drew Amendment #5 for his 3-5 minute extemporaneous speech topic. 

Esten., upon being named District 12 Oratorical Champion was awarded a $100 cash scholarship from American Legion Nebraska District 12 and a gold medal.  He was also awarded the annual American Legion Ne District 12 Oratorical Champion – “Thomas Bosmenial” Memorial Trophy, designed by Tim Moravec of Awards Unlimited in Lincoln.  The engraved, crystal trophy was topped by a special engraved seal of the American Legion.  The late Thomas Bosmenial was a long time champion of many American Legion Oratorical competitions representing District 12 and Seward American Legion Post 33.  His memorial trophy was presented by Martin Neal, District 12 Commander awarded to the District 12 Champion –Esten Johnsen, along with the special gold Medal.   

Judges for the oratorical contest included US Veteran Greg Holloway of Bee, NE and Marv Taylor, retired FFA/Ag instructor and speech coach for FFA.  Riley Nuttleman served as the official timer for the contest.  Clark Kolterman served as the Emcee and location host for the speech contest.  Refreshments followed the competition.

Esten Johnson now advances to the Nebraska American Legion Area C oratorical contest to be held at the Seward Civic Center on Sunday evening, December 3, 2023 at 2:00 pm in the basement meeting room.  The winner at the Area C contest will advance to the State American Legion Contest in January of 2024.  The students are asked to do exactly the same activity- a ten minute, memorized speech on the US Constitution and then speak on one of four US Constitution Amendments. 

Photo’s ID’s :

Group Photo: L-R Ken Meyer of Seward-American Legion District Oratorical Chair, Greg Holloway of Bee-Judge, Joe Ruzicka of Seward-Seward American Legion Post 33 Commander, Esten Johnsen-Winner, Martin Neal of Hickman-American Legion District 12 Commander, Marv Taylor of Seward-Judge, Angela and Steven Johnsen of Seward (Esten’s Parent’s).