Tristan Ferguson, a senior at John Tyler High School, was awarded first place in the Texas Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) State Oration Contest. The competition was held Oct. 15 in Austin.
With his victory, Tristan was awarded a $2,500 academic scholarship and a chance to compete in the SAR’s National Oration Contest next July in Knoxville, Tennessee. Over $12,000 in scholarships will be awarded at that event.
The SAR is America’s largest male-only lineage organization with over 33,000 members. Sixteen U.S. Presidents have been members.
“The feeling of being able to express learning and passion in the form of oratory is indescribable,” Tristan said. “This contest gave me the platform to become educated about James Armistead, an individual who made a huge difference in our society, and it motivated me to delve into history more than I ever had previously. I am honored to be able to represent the great state of Texas at Nationals this summer.
“The men of the SAR do an amazing job helping young people in many different areas. Each person I came in contact with locally and at the state level made me feel valued and important. I appreciate their support.”
April Caldwell, Tristan’s speech teacher at John Tyler, said, “When you see a student find something in history that they can go, ‘wow I can relate to that,’ it is an amazing feeling. This oration contest is one of the highlights of my year. To see these students research, write, memorize and perform their speeches, just confirms that this generation is capable of anything they desire.
“Upon meeting the men of the SAR, my students gain not only mentors, but also men to admire and respect. We are grateful for the opportunities these men are providing. I am extremely proud of Tristan. He is a passionate young man, and one day I will vote for him when runs for public office.”
Dr. Kenneth Gay, John Tyler’s principal, said: “We are extremely proud of Tristan qualifying for the national Oration contest. We wish him all the best as he represents JT-Home of Champions.”
Dave McLeod, President of the Capt. William Barron Chapter of the SAR in Tyler, said: “Tristan’s essay was impactful. His delivery was polished and professional. He has been taught well at John Tyler. We are proud for him and excited about his future.”
-Sons of the American Revolution, Tyler chapter