Rodgers wins VFW speech competition

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Melody Rodgers believes fate had something to do with her entering the VFW Voice of Democracy competition.

She was searching the Internet for scholarship opportunities and saw the VFW competition listed. The next day, she was called to the office at Pike County High School and given a packet, addressed to her, about the competition.

"I don't have any idea how they got my name, but I decided it was meant for me to enter," Melody said.

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Participants in the competition were required to submit an original oral essay on audiotape for judging.

Melody entered and her essay titled "Freedom's Obligation" was judged best in the competition sponsored by VFW Post 7055 in Brundidge. Her essay was then entered in the VFW District 7 competition, which she also won.

"District 7 includes Dothan, Enterprise, Ozark, Daleville, Headland, Troy, Eufaula - seven counties in all - so it covers a big area," said Freddie Turner, quartermaster and adjunct for Post 7055. "In announcing Melody as the winner, they said she was outstanding - head and shoulders above everybody else. She certainly impressed me."

As district winner, Melody will be honored at a luncheon in Eufaula Jan. 19, and take the podium to deliver her essay to the gathering of VFW members.

Her essay will be entered in the state competition and the winner will be announced in January.

"The winner of the state competition will advance to the nationals in Washington, D.C.," said Henry Middlebrooks, post commander. "We think Melody certainly has a chance to be the state winner. We're pulling for her."

Melody expressed appreciation to VFW Post 7055 for the support and recognition she has received as a result of the competition.

"This was a great opportunity for me and a real honor to be the winner on the local and district level," Melody said. "I hope I can represent them well at the state competition."

Melody is a very active senior at Pike County High School. She is president of the Future Business Leaders of America and 4-H clubs. She is a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society and the PCHS Student Ambassador program.

The 17-year-old has ranked number one in her class the past four years.

No matter how busy her school schedule, Melody always finds time to devote to her community. She is a member of the Pike Youth Leadership program and volunteers her musical talent at the Robert E. Barr Nutrition Center each Christmas.

Melody is a member of Clio Community Church where she is a member of the Praise Team, president of the youth department, a member of the choir and plays the keyboard.

Her future plans are to attend Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and major in computer engineering.

Melody is the daughter of Vanessa Rodgers Tracy of Clio and Ruso Minnifield of Tuskegee.

She is the granddaughter of Lillie Mae Clark of Brundidge and Willie Bob Rodgers of Pike Manor in Troy.