Wildcat Chronicle

Voice of Democracy first place winner Natalie Thompson moves on to state

Senior+Natalie+Thompson+placed+first+in+the+VFW+Voice+of+Democracy+competition.+She+won+a+flag+and+a+%24750+check+as+a+prize.+
Senior Natalie Thompson placed first in the VFW Voice of Democracy competition. She won a flag and a $750 check as a prize.

Senior Natalie Thompson placed first in the VFW Voice of Democracy competition. She won a flag and a $750 check as a prize.

Photo by Leslie Najera-Rivas

Photo by Leslie Najera-Rivas

Senior Natalie Thompson placed first in the VFW Voice of Democracy competition. She won a flag and a $750 check as a prize.

By Leslie Najera-Rivas, Reporter

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Out of 145 participants, senior Natalie Thompson won first place in the VFW Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition and will be going to state.

“I was definitely shocked, to find out but it was also very exciting for me. It was a surreal kind of moment I wasn’t expecting,” Thompson said.

She received a flag and a $750 check as a prize.

She plans on paying for her books for her first year of college with the money.

Thompson will be moving on to state competition and compete against winners from other VFW districts across Illinois on Feb. 9-10. If she wins, she’ll be able to go the national competition in Washington D.C in March.

“I hope I’ll do well but I’m sure everyone there is going to have an amazing piece that they’ve written and recorded,” Thompson said. “I’m not expecting to win but it would be nice.”

Her inspiration to join the competition was her social studies teacher John Chisholm.

Thompson spent about two hours per day on her speech with the support of Chisholm.

“He was a big push and he came up with a lot of ideas with me and we brainstormed together,” Thompson said. “I wrote my original speech, the actual paper of it, in one try but I re-recorded it probably six or seven times.”

Thompson’s speech consisted of an original comedy and prose reading that involved being a skit about her brother and herself.

Although nervous, Thompson is not new to competition. She regularly competes with speech team.

“It’s always nerve-wracking being judged on something so personal but it’s more exciting than it is nerve-wracking,” Thompson said.

Junior Daniela Almarales, and seniors Jacob Beaird, Jeremy Belingon and Michael Sawicki also participated in this competition.

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Voice of Democracy first place winner Natalie Thompson moves on to state