The Oratorical Program is a part of the Americanism Commission and is known as The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program. "A Constitutional Speech Contest".
The Main Purpose of this program is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States of America on the part of high school students. Other objectives of the contest include the development of leadership qualities, the ability to think and speak clearly and intelligently, and the preparation for acceptance of the duties and responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship.
Who is eligible to participate?
Students are eligible to participate if they are a citizen or lawful resident of the United States. Furthermore, all contestants must be bona fide students under the age of 20 years on the date of the National Contest and must be enrolled in high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or state accredited home school) in which the curriculum of the high school is considered to be a high school level, commencing with grade nine (9) and terminating with grade twelve (12). Students must be enrolled in high school or junior high school during the time of participation at any level of the contest.
What Topics Do Contestants Speak On?
The Prepared Oration. The subject to be used for the prepared oration of the contest must be on some aspect of the Constitution of the United States with emphasis on the duties and obligation of a citizen to our government. The same subject and oration used in the Department Contest must be used in the National Contest.
The Prepared Oration must be the original effort of each contestant and must not take up less than eight (8) minutes or more than ten (10) minutes for delivery. It must be delivered in the English language. The purpose of the Assigned Topic is to test the speaker's knowledge of the subject, the extent of his or her research, and the ability to discuss the topic as related to the basic principles of government under the Constitution. The topic will be one out of four topics determined by National. The assigned topic must take no less than three (3) minutes and must not exceed five (5) minutes for time delivery.
DEPARTMENT OF OREGON
In the Department of Oregon we have 4 contests: Post, District, Area, and Department. Post contests are held in December, District in January, and Area and Department in February/March. Our Area contests are made up as follows:
Every contestant must begin at the Post level; only Post level winners will advance to the District Contest. The District contest winner will advance to the respective Area contest. The winner of each Area contest will win a $500.00 scholarship; 2nd place $100. The four individuals who win the Area contests will advance to the Department contest. The winner of the Department contest will represent Oregon in the National contest in Indianapolis, Indiana; usually held in April. The money available for scholarships at the Department level are: 1st place $2500, 2nd place $1800, 3rd place $1700 and 4th place $1600.
Scholarship awards are presented to the three finalists in the Final Round of the National Contest as follows:
1st place $18,000, 2nd place $16,000, and 3rd place $14,000. Each Department winner who is certified into and participates in the First Round of the National contest will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Each First Round winner who advances to and participates in the Second Round, but does not advance to the Final Round, will receive an additional $1,500 scholarship to pursue education beyond high school. The scholarships awarded by the National Organization of the American Legion may be used to attend any college or university in the United States. Funds for the scholarships awarded by the National Organization are provided by The American Legion Life Insurance Fund.