A high school speech competition to be held during this year's Freedom Festival will feature several changes and improvements.

Bruce L. Fountain, competition chairman, said this year's contest will be divided into two age groups - those in grades 9-10 and those in grades 11-12."We have had absolutely outstanding speeches given in previous years," Fountain said. "But we want to recognize more of the participants who prepare excellent speeches, and the change to two age groups will allow us to do so."

The annual competition - held June 12-13 for 9th and 10th grade students, June 19-20 for 11th and 12th graders - is open to all high-school age students living in Utah Valley. Contests will be held in the Provo City Council Chambers.

Thanks to the contribution of a charitable foundation, the awards to this year's winners have also improved substantially, ranging from $100 for third place in the younger division, to a $2,000 scholarship for the first place winner in the older division.

In addition, the winner of the older division will be asked to speak at the Patriotic Fireside on June 24 at the Brigham Young University Marriott Center. Other winners in both divisions will be asked to speak at other festival events.

For more information, call Fountain at 224-4538 or the Freedom Festival's 24-hour hotline at 379-6108.