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The American Legion Oratorical Program

About the Oratorical Contest

“A constitutional speech contest”

The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former president candidate Alan Keyes and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs.

Young orators earn some of the most generous college scholarships available to high school students. Over $138,000 in scholarships can be awarded each year. The overall national contest winner gets an $18,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $16,000, and third gets $14,000. Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $1,500 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $1,500 scholarship. The American Legion’s National Organization awards the scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States.

High school students under age 20 are eligible. Competition begins at the post level and advances to a state competition. Legion department representatives certify one winner per state to the national contest, where department winners compete against each other in two speaking rounds. The contest caps off with a final round that decides the three top finishers.

Speaking subjects must be on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with some emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government. Speeches are eight to 10 minutes long; three- to five-minute speeches on an assigned topic also are part of the contest.



Retired Vermont Judge Edward Cashman, left, administers the oath Friday to his son, Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Cashman, in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. (Photo: U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill)

Contact Information

Websites
Oratorical Contest Resources
Rules and Regulations

Contact Number
Shayne Abrahams,
Assistant Director

(317) 630-1204

Email
oratorical@legion.org

Documents / Forms

High School Oratorical Program Application

Essex High School Grad promoted to Brigadeer General

Department of Vermont Oratorical History


(Header Photo by Lucas Carter) Geeta P. Minocha of Ocala, Fla., delivers her prepared oration during the National High School Oratorical Contest finals in Indianapolis.

The American Legion
Department of Vermont HQ
126 State Street, P.O. Box 396
Montpelier, Vermont 05601-0396
(800)501-7131 (Toll-Free in VT)
(802)223-7131
Fax: (802)223-0318
alvthq@myfairpoint.net

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