Riverton senior shines in speech and debate events
It’s been happening since 1938 and involves the brightest young thinkers and speakers high schools have to offer.
Each year, the American Legion sponsors an oratorical contest centered on the Constitution.
“The oratory contest started in 1938 as a response to Hitler’s Youth. We started the contest to show our youth another way,” American Legion representative Allan Setterberg said.
Coy Christensen, a senior at Riverton High School, was this year’s American Legion District 8 winner. District 8 covers the Salt Lake Valley.
The competition was held on Jan. 25 at the Riverton Senior Citizens Center.
“The Constitution allows us to fail and works for imperfect people. It allows us to fix problems as we find them,” Coy said.
To compete, a student prepares an eight- to 10-minute speech on an aspect of the Constitution that they choose. They must speak an additional three to five minutes on an amendment of the Constitution that is drawn out of a hat.
“The American Legion contacted my debate coach to find someone to participate, and he asked me. Riverton High has a legacy of doing well in this event,” Coy said.
Winners are presented with a certificate and a small scholarship.
Coy also is active with Riverton High school’s debate team, and serves as the debate president. He took third place at state debate on March 9 at Weber State University in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
He has also participated in other debate events such as impromptu, spontaneous argument or SPAR and narratives.
Coy has been actively producing commercials advertising debate as a class option next year for the Riverton High student news program known as Silver Screen.
Riverton High debate coach Michael Henriksen appreciates the effort Coy is making to get more students involved in debate.
“It’s great that he is committed even though he’s not going to be here,” Henriksen said.
A unique thing about Coy is that he has his own bee-keeping business. He takes care of hives at customers’ homes or will maintain a hive elsewhere for them.
“Coy is an absolute joy to his parents. He has a deep love of country and appreciation for the sacrifices that many have made for our freedoms. He is also the oldest of six and incredible with his younger siblings,” Jana Christensen, Coy’s mother, said.
Coy has also been actively involved with the Madrigals, concurrent enrollment classes and the book club.
After graduation, Coy plans on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and eventually college, followed by law school. He has been accepted to college at the U of U, BYU and Dixie.
“Coy is motivated to learn on his own. He makes everything more exciting and better for everyone,” Henriksen said.