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High-school-age girls in Minnesota can apply from now until August for a speech competition awarding hundreds of dollars for the top finishers. 

Metro Republican Women sponsors the Speaking Proudly competition, which this year will center around the theme "'A republic if you can keep it': Rising to Benjamin Franklin's Challenge," according to a news release. It's set to happen at the Capitol on Oct. 26. 

The first-place finisher wins $1,000, $500 goes to second and $250 to third. 

“Competing in this magnificent setting, exercising the freedom to speak up for our country, will be an experience these girls will remember the rest of their lives," Deb Kaczmarek, an event organizer and past president of the Republican group, said in a written statement. 

Applicants must provide a one-page document including their speech title, summary and outline by Aug. 1 along with a $50 deposit. This year's topic references a quote attributed to Franklin about the challenge and risk of maintaining the country's form of government. 

Organizers choose 50 competitors to give their speech at the Capitol. 

More information is available at speakingproudly.org

Community editor

Dan Holtmeyer is the community editor for the Prior Lake and Savage papers. He grew up in Nebraska and worked as a journalist in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas before coming to Minnesota in 2018.

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