High School Oratorical Program

A Constitutional Speech Contest

The purpose of The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States among 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.

2020-2021 Department of Iowa Contest Completion Dates

Local Contests must be completed by December 6, 2020
County Contests must be completed by December 20, 2020
District Contests must be completed by January 10, 2021
Area Contests must be completed by January 31, 2021

2021 Department Contest will be conducted on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at the Holiday Inn Des Moines-Aiport & Conference Center

2021 National Finals will be April 9 – 11 in Indianapolis at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel. Quarterfinal and semifinal contests are scheduled for Saturday, April 10 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, April 11.

Oratorical Brochure

Application

Assigned Topics

Chairman's Guide

Background Checks

District Chairs

Contest Dates

2020-2021 District and Area Contest Dates

Information will be available in the Fall of 2020.

 

District Date Time Contact Info Location Info
1
2
3
4 1/3/2021
Snow Date:
1/10/2021
2:00 PM Dennis Soppe
(563) 422-5092
Email
Trinity Lutheran Church
116 W Wilbur St.
Hawkeye, IA  52147
5
6
7
8
9

 

 

Area Date Time Contact Info Location Info
I
(Districts: 1, 5 & 6)
*Bold indicates host district.
II
(Districts: 2, 3 & 4)
*Bold indicates host district.
January 17, 2021
Snow Date:
January 24, 2021
2:00 PM Dennis Soppe
(563) 422-5092
Email
Trinity Lutheran Church
116 W Wilbur St.
Hawkeye, IA  52147
III
(Districts: 7, 8 & 9)
*Bold indicates host district.

Download a copy of the PDF here.

Eligibility

Eligible participants in the contest shall be citizens of or lawful permanent residents of the United States.

All contestants must be bona fide students herein described as any student under the age of 20 years on the date of the national contest who is presently enrolled in a high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or homeschool), commencing with grade 9 and terminating with grade 12. Students must be enrolled in high school or junior high school during the time of participation at any level of the contest.

High school students that graduate early during the school year are eligible to compete if they are not enrolled in a college, university, trade school or other institution of higher learning at the time of the department finals contest.

Contestants must either be legally domiciled within or attend an educational institution within the department (state) where they enter the competition. Contestants can enter the competition in only one department.

The three finalists of the national contest will be ineligible for further participation at any level.

Local Contest

The American Legion National High School Oratorical Contest begins with contests at the post level.  For more information on participating, contact your local American Legion Post, email to programs@ialegion.org, or, call Department Headquarters at 800-365-8387.

Find a Post

Awards and Scholarships

Post, County, and District Levels:  Varies by location

Area Contest:

  1. $50 awarded by The American Legion of Iowa for expenses.
  2. $200 will be awarded to 2nd and 3rd place finishers and $100 awarded to 4th, 5th, and 6th place finishers to contestants in the Area Contests.

Department (State) Contest:  Matching scholarships provided by The American Legion of Iowa and The American Legion of Iowa Foundation:

American Legion Foundation Total:
1st Place $1,000 $1,000 $2,000
2nd Place $750 $750 $1,500
3rd Place $500 $500 $1,000

National Finals

The 2021 National Finals are April 9-11 in Indianapolis, at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel, 2544 Executive Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46241, (317) 248-2481. Quarterfinal and semifinal contests are scheduled for Saturday, April 10, with the finals scheduled for Sunday, April 11.

All contestants and chaperones will arrive on the Friday of the contest weekend. All contestants and chaperones will stay at the official contest hotel.

A mandatory pre-contest orientation session for all contestants will take place on the Friday evening of the contest weekend. A banquet honoring all contestants will be Sunday afternoon, following the national championship contest. All contestants and chaperones will depart for home later that afternoon.

Final Round of the National Contest:

1st Place: $25,000
2nd Place: $22,500
3rd Place: $20,000

Prepared Oration

The prepared oration must be on some aspect of the Constitution of the United States with emphasis on the duties and obligations of a citizen to our government. The same subject and oration will be used at all levels of the contest.

The prepared oration must be the original effort of each contestant and must not take up less than eight minutes or more than 10 minutes for delivery.

Contestants may have in their possession a copy of their prepared oration in the first holding room. The copy may be in electronic or paper form. They may consult the copy of their prepared oration until they exit the holding room in order to begin the contest, at which time the copy of the prepared oration will be surrendered to the contest official who is monitoring the first holding room.

Assigned Topics

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 2021 Oratorical Contest

Article I, Section 7

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States;[2] If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Article II, Section 3

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Article III, Section 1

The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Amendment XXII, Section 1

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Oratorical Contest Rules and Regulations

Rules and regulations for the contest may be found in the following documents:

Oratorical Application (PDF)
Oratorical Rules Brochure (PDF)