BY REBECCA ISENHART
NISKAYUNA — If you want to get Lauren Litz talking, try asking her about the United States Constitution.
If you’d rather not talk politics, pretty much anything else will do.
“I love to talk,” Litz said with a laugh as she relaxed in the shade on the porch of her well-groomed Avon Crest home.
It’s the perfect interest for a recent graduate who will begin studying communications at Le Moyne University near Syracuse in just over a month.
“I’m very excited about the academic part,” Litz said. She’ll also play volleyball at the school, a sport she picked up when she was in the eighth grade. But she can’t stop thinking — or talking — about racing toward her dream career as a political speechwriter. She plans to either double-major in political science or pursue minors in political science and business.
As a kid, Litz wanted to be an author. She’s an avid reader and has always loved the written word. But experiences in high school shifted her course.
She participated in the student congress and student council, then eventually went on to be elected class president for a couple of years in high school. During her senior year, she was vice president of the Class of 2015.
“Government is fascinating to me,” Litz said.
So when she heard about the American Legion’s national oratorical contest during social studies class her senior year, she jumped at the opportunity to participate. She would be required to write multiple speeches ranging from three to ten minutes about the U.S. Constitution and several of its amendments.
“Everybody, when they hear about it, they were like, ‘That sounds so awful,’ ” she said, recalling her classmates’ bemused reaction when she decided to give the contest a try.
“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s a lot of work, but it’s kind of what I want to do when I’m older,’ ” she said.
Litz made it through three rounds of the competition, winning second place in her inaugural contest and first place in the following one. At the regional competition, she lost to a girl who had taken part in the speech-writing competition for four years running.
“It kind of validated for me, ‘Yeah, this is what I want to do,’ ” Litz said.
She’s especially excited to learn from one of her Le Moyne professors, who was once a speechwriter for Bill Clinton.
In between daydreaming about and charging toward a career as a political speechwriter, Litz said her favorite thing to do is spend time with family, especially while competing in sports. She and her two sisters, 20-year-old twins Jessica and Gabbie, all played softball while growing up. Their dad, Joseph Litz, coached, while their mom, Holly, cheered them on. Litz still plays softball in a Niskayuna 18-and-under league on summer weekends, a tradition she says she’ll miss.
Her close relationship with her siblings was the impetus for her interest in volleyball, too. Jessica played volleyball when she was in her early high school years.
“She wanted someone to pass with her in the backyard,” Litz said.
It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the sport, which she’ll continue to pursue in college.
Stretching the distance between family members will be the toughest part of moving to Syracuse for Litz, who has shared a room with her two sisters for her entire life and credits the physical closeness with helping build their friendships.
Luckily, she’ll be close enough to visit either sister with relative ease. Gabbie goes to Ithaca College and Jessica goes to St. John Fisher College in Rochester. Both are within 90 minutes of driving, a fact that eases Litz’s mind.
But until she finally packs up the car and moves into her dorm room, Litz said she’ll be on the softball field or hanging out with her family — or daydreaming about writing.