Shelton High School junior Archit Bhargave was third runner up at the American Legion 3rd District High School oratorical contest.

The district finals were held Saturday, Feb. 15, at Fairfield Library. The first place winner was Staples High sophomore Zachary Rybchin, followed by first runner-up Aidan Harrison Hall of Wilton High School, second runner-up Ethan McGinnis of Newtown High School and Bhargave.

The contest challenged the students’ knowledge of the history of the nation’s laws, as well as their ability to think and speak clearly about the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship.

Contest participants gained a deeper understanding of the U.S. Constitution and shared that knowledge with a vast audience through the American Legion High School oratorical contest, an announcement said. They have won awards at the local Legion post level in their home towns for speeches that explored the substance and meaning of the Constitution.

“Today the contestants represented themselves, their families, and their schools well,” said District Commander Mike Kellett. “They should be proud.”

The contest consists of a prepared oration and an assigned topic with specific time constraints. Legion posts participating in this contest conducted the initial program by the beginning of February and sent these local winners onto the third district completion in Fairfield on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Each contestant presented an original 8- to 10-minute oration on the U.S. Constitution as well as a 3- to 5-minute oration on an assigned topic.

Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $1,500 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $1,500 scholarship. The American Legion’s National Organization awards the scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States.