Sunday April 7, 2019, Iowa saw our third National Oratorical Champion crowned. Patrick Junker of Van Meter, Iowa joined Jennifer Demmon of Marshalltown in 1986 and Max Miller of Ankeny in 2000 as Iowa’s National Oratorical Champions. Patrick is shown on the right in the picture above. To his right is runner-up Caleb Maue of Illinois with Eden Carnes of Tennessee finishing third. Patrick is the winner of an $18,000 scholarship with Caleb and Eden receiving $16,000 and $14,000 scholarships for their efforts.
It was a significant comeback after not advancing past the quarterfinal round during last year’s contest, a loss he said that was “extremely influential.” It gave him confidence and encouragement to write a prepared oration that he was passionate about, that he believed in – “The Spread of Constitutional Apathy and How to Quarantine It.” Junker’s inspiration for his speech came from U.S. government class where he saw how his peers didn’t care about the Constitution and its purpose. “We must not only teach students the Constitution, but we must also teach them the importance it has on our everyday life. We must teach them this importance in order to safeguard our future,” said Junker, who was sponsored by American Legion Post 403, where his father, Vincent, is the commander. “We must promote the Constitution in our classrooms. We must honor those who fought for our freedom by fighting for every American’s freedom. I guess that apathy can be stopped with medicine. We are that medicine, and we should never let apathy dilute our potency.”
Patrick will be honored as one of The American Legion’s Youth Champions at the 2019 National Convention in Indianapolis. He is a junior at Van Meter High School with aspirations of possibly attending one of the military academies after high school. Patrick was also selected as one of Van Meter’s delegates for the 2019 American Legion of Iowa Boys State program.
To watch and listen to his speeches, follow this link.