UNION, NJ – Union High School student Sienna Buccu won the first two rounds of the American Legion Oratorical contest, sponsored by UHS, on December 3, 2016 and February 4, 2017.

This national speech contest, which was created to help develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the U.S. Constitution among high school students, consists of an 8-10 minute memorized speech on the United States Constitution as well as a three-five minute impromptu speech on one of four amendments chosen at random.

In addition to Buccu, Union High School students Madeline Dwamena, Nikka Jarabe and Geneva Loomis, all current and former Advanced Placement students, competed in the first round.

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Buccu is set to compete in the regional contest on February 19 in Branchburg.  The winner of that competition will participate in the state contest with a grand prize of $4,000.  The New Jersey state winner has the possibility of winning $18,000 at the national level.

"You can never make anyone hear your words and listen; all you have control over is getting them out there speaking them or writing them,” said Buccu.  “Winning is nice, but being heard, being listened to, that is what is important."

Both local events were coordinated by Union High School English teacher Sandra Mangarella.  “I was a nervous Nellie watching my students compete,” said Mangarella.  “It is fulfilling as a teacher watching a student go above and beyond the classroom.  I am so excited about Sienna's success.  It validates everything that I do."

For more information about the contest, please visit https://www.legion.org/oratorical.