Alex Kate Halvey

Pusch Ridge senior, Alex Kate Halvey, placed first in Southern Arizona for the American Legion oratorical contest.

Hannah McLeod/The Explorer

After finishing first in Southern Arizona for the American Legion oratorical contest, Pusch Ridge senior Alex Kate Halvey moved on to the national competition in Indianapolis where she competed for the first place scholarship prize of $18,000.

Halvey began her journey during her junior year when her high school English teacher, Sarah Kirk, encouraged her class to sign up for either an essay or speech contest.

“She’s awesome and so supportive. I mean, she’s the one that got me to do this and she’s been to several of the competitions,” said Halvey. “It’s kind of funny because people who compete from other schools have speech coaches. I never had a speech coach, I just kind of did it so we kind of joke she’s my fake speech coach.

Halvey entered an oratorical contest for the Rotary Club of Tucson and American Legion last year along with fellow classmate Kaylyn Fodor. Both Halvey and Fodor made it to the state competition and finished as runner-ups. Halvey went further than she anticipated and that’s what helped motivate her to try again this year.

“I feel like we both kind of felt like we had succeeded enough that it’d be worth trying again,” said Halvey. “I just figured I should do this again because as you advance you win scholarship money and stuff. So it’s definitely worth it.”

This year, Halvey was joined by her younger sister, Delaney Halvey, who ended up finishing as runner-up. 

There are three areas in Arizona that are involved in the competition: Southern Arizona, Phoenix and Northern Arizona. The top two finishers in each of those areas advances to the national competition.

“It’s been a long break since state so I’m just now starting to get more excited about it,” said Halvey in preparation for the competition. “I’m not too nervous because I could lose in the first round and it’d still be really cool. So anything good that happens would just be an added surprise bonus.”

The national competition was held on April 18 and April 19. Halvey did not advance the national competition.

Halvey will be attending University of Delaware upon graduation and will enter into the honors college where she will pursue a degree in chemical engineering. But for now, Halvey is thankful for all the support from her family and school and is looking forward to taking the trip to Indianapolis to compete.

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