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.

2021-2022 Department of Iowa Contest Completion Dates

Local Contests must be completed by December 5, 2021
County Contests must be completed by December 19, 2021
District Contests must be completed by January 16, 2022 (top 2 contestants may advance to area)
Area Contests must be completed by January 30, 2022

PLEASE NOTE: These contests DO NOT have to take place on the completion dates (Sundays).

Department Finals

2022 Department Contest will be conducted on Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 10:00 AM. The contest will be held at the Holiday Inn Des Moines-Aiport & Conference Center.

National Finals

2022 National Finals will be April 22 – 24 in Indianapolis at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel. Quarterfinal and semifinal contests are scheduled for Saturday, April 23 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, April 24. For an updated schedule, visit here.

Oratorical Brochure

Application

Assigned Topics

Chairman's Guide

Background Checks

District Chairs

Contest Dates

2021-2022 District and Area Contest Dates

Information will be available in the Fall of 2022.

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 2021-2022 Oratorical Contest

Amendment III

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 VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment XIV, Section 3

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Amendment XXV, Section 4

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

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)