Local teen wins statewide speech competition

An 18-year-old Newport Beach resident beat out 5,000 students last month to win a statewide speech competition sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Kelsey Woo, a senior at Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood, took the top prize and about $3,000 in college scholarships in VFW's Voice of Democracy competition Jan. 21 in Sacramento, her father Steve Woo said.

Woo gave a speech on the topic "Does my generation have a role in America's future?" in front of more than 250 veterans, state officials and educators.

The Voice of Democracy is a national speech competition that more than 50,000 high school students compete in for a chance to win some of the more than $2.2 million in educational scholarships given out each year.

The competition is put on by the VFW.

Participants were judged by a panel of teachers, veterans, judges, lawyers and broadcast journalists

Kelsey Woo will go on to compete in March in Washington, D.C., for the national title and a $30,000 scholarship.

— Britney Barnes

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