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23rd Annual Langfan Oratorical Competition Focuses on Voting Rights

The six finalists pose with history faculty and competition advisor, Melissa Morales (Photo:  Barry Mason)

Since 2002, tenth-grade students have had the chance to participate in an annual oratorical competition known as the William K. and Marion Langfan American Constitutional Oratorical Competition.

The event, which occurs each spring, enriches the U.S. history curriculum by offering students the chance to research, write, and present an oral argument about a specific matter of public concern related to the Constitution.

The competition was founded in 2002 by the late William K. and Marion Langfan to encourage young minds to contemplate Constitutional issues. William and Marion’s children, HM alumni Mark Langfan ’78 and Dayna Langfan ’79, have continued to support the event as an expression of their parents’ shared love for the U.S. Constitution and of oratory.

Ethan Furman ’26, the winner of the competition, sets forth his argument. (Photo:  Barry Mason)

The final round of this year’s competition saw six finalists presenting their oral arguments of five to seven minutes before an audience of HM administrators, history faculty, and family members at a dinner on April 8th. Their speeches examined and analyzed the following question:

Does the United States have sufficient constitutional protections of voting rights? If not, what amendment would you propose and why?

All six sophomores spoke eloquently and built strong cases for their arguments, which made the job of selecting a winner difficult. After the speeches, the panel of judges – comprised of two finalists from 2022 and three finalists from 2023 – sequestered themselves to deliberate, with history faculty Melissa Morales serving as advisor. After almost one hour of vigorous discussion, the judges reached a consensus that Ethan Furman ’26 had presented the most original and compelling argument. Ethan is the son of Matthew Furman, Class of 1987.

Congratulations to Ethan, the finalists, and the judges on an outstanding competition!