Bulusu Advances to Nationals


Alex Brown

Every year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization holds a speech competition with scholarship prizes totaling a combined over $2 million. This year, ELHS junior Sidhaarth Bulusu took first place in states and will be advancing to nationals.

In fall of 2022, Bulusu was first interested in the competition when he learned about the potential $35,000 grand prize for nationals winners. That was all the spark he needed and soon after was recording and submitting his speech on this year’s prompt, why veterans are important. Entries had to be between three and five minutes. In addition to this, speeches were judged on originality, content, and delivery. An essay was also required with each submission.

In November of 2022, Bulusu was announced the winner, and not long after he advanced to states. After the state competition, he attended a lunch banquet in Rocky Hill to hear the announcements of the winners and runner-ups. A lot of the students competing at the state level had been in the contest already at least once, so getting first place did not even cross Bulusu’s mind. When they announced him as the winner, he was shocked.

“I got up on that stage and they wanted me to read my essay,” Bulusu said. “Everybody seemed invested in what I had to say. It felt like I had a voice.” Bulusu went to nationals in Washington, D.C. on March 8. He has won $2,000 at the state level and is awaiting more information.