The American Legion, Department of Maine
High School Oratorical Scholarship Program
180 West River Rd.
Waterville, Maine 04901
February 11, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.
**All contestants should plan to arrive between 8 and 8:30 a.m.**
Snow Date: February 18, 2023
Volunteers are needed to help with the program (judges, tabulators room monitors, etc.). Those who are interested are to please call Department Headquarters at 207-873-3229
The main purpose of the High School Oratorical Scholarship Program is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of 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, the rights and privileges of American citizenship.
This contest is for students who welcome learning... For the student who looks for an academic challenge and an opportunity to gain scholarship monies, The American Legion's High School Oratorical Scholarship Program is a natural fit. Students learn valuable information about our country's Constitution in a contest that has been held by The American Legion for more than 76 years.
Who is Eligible to Participate?
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 twenty (20) years on the date of the national contest that is presently enrolled in a high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or home school) in which the curriculum is considered to be of high school level, commencing with grade nine (9) and terminating with grade twelve (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 competition. Contestants can enter competition in only one department. The three finalists of the national contest will be ineligible for further participation at any level.
The Prepared Oration: The subject to be used for the prepared oration in the Oratorical Contest must be on some aspect of the Constitution of the United States with emphasis to the attendant duties and obligations of a citizen to our government. The same subject and oration used in the department contest must be used in the national 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 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 that time the copy of the prepared oration will be surrendered to the contest official who is monitoring the first holding room.
In the prepared oration, as well as in the assigned topic discourse, quotations must be indicated as such. Where quotations are more than 10 words in length, the author's name must be given in the manuscript and cited orally.
The Assigned Topic: The assigned topic discourse must not consume less than three minutes or more than five 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/her prepared oration and will be made known to the audience and each contestant approximately five minutes prior to the time of delivery. The topic will be on some phase of the Constitution of the United States selected from Articles and Sections. Please see the Oratorical Rules Brochure for Assigned Topics for 2023 .
Department contest winners must be certified to the National Americanism Division, NO LATER THAN MARCH 13, 2023. Failure to meet this deadline could result in disqualification of the contestant.
State and National Awards
State Level Prizes Awarded: Students who compete in the contests have the opportunity of receiving money toward their future school endeavors. Local Legion Post awards will be determined by the individual Posts, and the district awards by the various districts. On the state level, the first place winner will receive $1,500, second place $500, third place $300, and forth place $125.
National Level Scholarships Awarded: Scholarship awards are presented to the three finalists in the Final Round of the National Program as follows: 1st Place - $25,000; 2nd Place - $22,500; 3rd Place - $20,000. Each Department (State) winner who is certified into and participates in the first round of the National Program will receive a $2,000 scholarship. Each first round winner who advances to and participates in the second round, but does not advance to the Final Round, will receive an additional $2,000 scholarship to pursue education beyond high school.
The Scholarships awarded by the National Organization of The American Legion may be used to attend any college or university in the United States. Funds for the scholarships awarded by the National Organization are provided by the American Legion Life Insurance Fund.
National Finals: The 2023 National Finals is April 21-23 in Indianapolis, at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel. Quarterfinal and semifinal contests are scheduled for Saturday, April 22, with the finals scheduled for Sunday, April 23. For more information, please visit: http://www.legion.org/oratorical/finals
State and Local Oratorical Contests off National's Web site