Oratorical Contest Provides Scholarships


District Legion members present the oratorical winner with a certificate and a check at last year’s contest.

Oratorical Contest for High School Students

If you have a high school student who likes to speak or is interested in government, specifically the constitution, this contest may appeal to them.

Since 1938, the national American Legion has sponsored the “National High School Oratorical Scholarship Program, A Constitutional Speech Contest.”

Scholarship awards of various amounts are given to winning students at each level of the contest (local, district, area, state, and national). Scholarship awards at the National Finals are $18,000 for 1st Place, $16,000 for 2nd Place, and $14,000 for 3rd Place.

Each State winner who participates in the first round of Nationals receives $1,500. These scholarship awards may be used to attend any college or university in the U.S.A.

The first round of the contest will be held at American Legion Post 283 in Pacific Palisades on January 27, with the winner advancing to the District level on February 10. The area level will be held February 24 at the Hollywood Post and the state contest on March 3 in Clovis. The winner advances to the National finals in Indianapolis April 12-14.

Students are eligible if they are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the U.S. and are under 20 years of age enrolled in a high school (public, parochial, military, private or home school).

The student writes a speech, and on the day of the contest presents it as an 8- to 10-minute oration (without the text or notes). The student chooses some aspect of the Constitution of the United States, with emphasis on the duties and obligations of a citizen to our government.

After each contestant has presented that speech, the student then will give a three to five-minute speech on one of four amendments (below). The amendment is drawn that day, so a student must be prepared to speak on all four—also without text, notes or other aids. Amendments rotate each year.

If your student doesn’t have time to write an eight-minute speech and four three-minute speeches and memorize them this year, they are urged to come watch the contest, so they better understand how it works. 

Amendment 1

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment 4

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment 13

  1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
  2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 21

  1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
  2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
  3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Visit: legion.org or contact David Card, the program chair, at (310) 454-5024 or email davidcard22@gmail.com.

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One Response to Oratorical Contest Provides Scholarships

  1. David Card says:

    The students will be speaking at 10:30 AM on Sunday January 27 and February 10 at the American Legion Hall on La Cruz Dr. next to the Palisades Post Office. Everyone is welcome to be an audience witness to hear some amazing short speeches by several talented high schoolers. Thank you for your report.

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