High School Oratorical Scholarship Program

2018 American Legion Oratorical Contest

Below is general information about the contest with the specific amendments to be covered this year and the dates for competition up to the state level.  Also, below is the official Oratorical Rules brochure to answer any questions.

The Americanism Committee at Post 10 is able to provide practice time at the Legion Hall at 702 Pine Grove Road for contestants to prepare.  We are  able to coordinate practice times on evenings and weekends with committee members who can provide feedback to the contestant.

It is also strongly recommend that contestants view recordings of prior national winners at https://www.legion.org/oratorical.

The contest, open to US citizens or lawful resident under the age of 20 and currently enrolled in grade 9-12, is designed to provide the student with the opportunity to increase their knowledge of the US Constitution and with public speaking skills that can help them with advancement in their chosen profession. Complete rules are attached to this email and can be obtained by clicking the links below, contacting NC Department Headquarters or by visiting the national headquarters web page.

North Carolina students begin their advance toward the national finals at their local high school. Each contestant gives an 8 to 10-minute prepared speech on what it means to be a citizen under the US Constitution. Each student must also speak from 3 to 5 minutes on an “assigned topic” drawn at the contest from a list of 4 predefined topics. This topic will be the same for all contestants in the contest once drawn.

School winners have the opportunity to compete in and advance past county, district and division contests to reach the department contest. Department winners travel to The American Legion’s national headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana where they can advance through 3 rounds of contests (quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals) to become the national champion.

In addition to scholarship cash awards presented by local posts, the Department of North Carolina provides scholarships* for participants of the department contest as follows: 1st Place – $2,500.00 Scholarship, 2nd Place – $1,500.00 Scholarship, 3rd Place – $ 1,000.00 Scholarship, 4th Place – $ 1,000.00, and   5th Place – $ 1,000.00 Scholarship. National Headquarters provides an additional $1,500.00 scholarship to Department (State) winners who participate in the Quarter finals of the National Contest.  Scholarships may be used to attend any college or university in the United States and will be paid directly to the Scholarship institution of higher education.  (*Award of the scholarships requires competing at the next higher level.)

The national organization provides scholarships for those who compete in the 3 rounds in Indianapolis with the top 3 contestants receiving $18,000, $16,000 and $14,000.

Assigned Topics Rules

The assigned topic discourse must not consume less than three (3) minutes or more than five (5) minutes for delivery. The purpose of the assigned topic discourse 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 assigned topic shall be drawn by the contest official in full view of the audience immediately before the last speaker begins delivery of his or her prepared oration and will be made known to the audience and each contestant approximately five (5) minutes prior to the time of delivery. The topic will be on some phase of the U.S. Constitution, selected from Articles and Sections as listed under assigned topics for the current year’s contest in this brochure.

All contestants at each contest level are required to speak in the English language on the same assigned topic.

 Assigned topics for 2018

Amendment 2: A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment 3: No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment 15: Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Article 2, Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors

Contest timeline:

School nominations due to Post 10 (jeffreybwhiting@msn.com) by 12/18/2016

Post 10 Contest: Saturday, 1/13/2107, from 11 am to 3 pm

District 9 Contest: Saturday, 2/3/2107, from 11 am to 3 pm

Division Contests: 2/5-18/2017 (Division 2 Commander, Mike Braswell, coordinating [Cell phone 910-270-1297] probably in Hampstead)

Department Finals: 3/5/2017 (3/10/2017 snow date) Location not announced.

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