Each year The Department of North Carolina joins the 54 other departments and the over 10,000 local posts in The American Legion High School Oratorical Contest.
The contest, open to US citizens or lawful residents 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 can be obtained by clicking the links below, contacting NC Department Headquarters or by visiting the National Headquarters Oratorical 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.
Click here for photos of the 2019 State Oratorical Contest.
In addition to scholarship awards presented by local posts the Department of North Carolina provides scholarships for participants of the division and department contests. 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.
Click on the links below for complete contest rules or contact the NC Department Headquarters for information on contests and scholarships up to and including the department finals.
2020 Oratorical Contest / Scholarship Information
2019 Oratorical Contest Reference Information
Oratorical Contest Dates and Information:
- By December 17, 2019 – School contests completed
- Jan 6-18, 2020 – County or Post contests completed
- Jan 25-Feb 8, 2020 – District contests
- Feb 16-29, 2020 – Division contests
- March 7, 2020 – Department Final, TBA (Snow date – Mar 14, 2020)
District and Division Chairmen, remember to report your Contest Dates to Department as soon as your plans are made. It will also be imperative that you keep your contestants aware of their contest dates in your respective districts as turnaround time is very tight for Department to get letters out to the winners at the various levels. National rules apply to all levels of competition in North Carolina. Please review your American Legion National Official rules as well as your Chairman’s guide.