The American Legion, Department of Maine
High School Oratorical Scholarship Program

Thomas College
180 West River Rd.
Waterville, Maine 04901

February 9, 2019 at 9:00 a.m.
**All contestants should plan to arrive between 8 and 8:30 a.m.**

Snow Date: February 16, 2019


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, Oratorical Chairman Don Chase at 207-441-2214 or Oratorical Co-Chairman Tommy Adkins at 469-2616.

Department of Maine HS Oratorical Scholarship Application

Department of Maine Oratorical Brochure

Official Rules

Oratorical Promotional Brochure - National 

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 must be 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 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 ten minutes for delivery. It must be delivered in the English language. 

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.

The Assigned Topic:
The purpose of the Assigned Topic 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 topic will be on some phase of the Constitution of the United States.

The assigned topic must take no less than three minutes and must not exceed five minutes for time of delivery.

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, as listed under assigned topics for the current year’s contest in the rules brochure.

No foreign languages or songs

All contestants at each contest level are required to speak in the English language on the same assigned topic.

It is acceptable to utilize or incorporate short phrases of a foreign language into the prepared oration and/or assigned topic in order to develop the argument, establish a point, etc. The vast majority of the prepared oration and/or assigned topic must be delivered in the English language.

Also, the singing of a song in any language is not permitted and will result in the immediate disqualification of the contestant. The contestant may, however, quote a verse(s) of a song provided proper attribution is made.

In the prepared oration and 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.

Assigned Topics for 2019

Amendment 1:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 

Amendment 4: 
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment 13. 
1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 21. 
1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Department contest winners must be certified to the National Americanism Division, NO LATER THAN MARCH 18, 2019. 

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 awards 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 -$18,000; 2nd Place -$16,000; 3rd Place -$14,000. Each Department (State) winner who is certified into and participates in the first round of the National Program will receive a $1,500 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 $1,500 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 2019 National Finals is April 5-7 in Indianapolis, at the Wyndham Indianapolis West. Quarterfinal and semifinal contests are scheduled for Saturday, April 6, with the finals scheduled for Sunday, April 7. 

All contestants and chaperones will arrive 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 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.

For more information, please visit:

For more information about the Oratorical Contest in Maine, please contact your local Legion Post, or The American Legion Department Headquarters at 207-873-3229, email:

State and Local Oratorical Contests of National's Web site

The American Legion, Department Maine 
2017 High School Oratorical Scholarship Winner




The world's largest veterans organization

Maine Legion Baseball
National Headquarters
The Sons of The American Legion
Maine Legion Riders Facebook Page
Maine Patriot Guard

Shop at
Emblem Catalog Sales

Get the Free Reader
get the free PDF reader