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Oratorical Chairman:
Ron Musselwhite

Oratorical Chairman - Ron Musselwhite

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Post Chairman’s Guide to the Oratorical Contest



“A constitutional speech contest”

Oratorical Banner

The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. The 70-year-old program presents participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former president candidate Alan Keyes and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs.

The American Legion National Oratorical Contest is a multilevel contest consisting of the following levels: Post, District, Area, State, Regional, and National. To find the Post closest to you, please contact the Florida Programs Director.

National Finals winners receive the following:

1st Place - $18,000          2nd Place - $16,000          3rd Place - $14,000

State Finals winners receive the following:

1st Place - $2,500          2nd Place - $1,500          3rd Place - $1,000          4th through 6th Place - $500 each

State Winners For 2014

1st place - Elizabeth Barahona
2nd place -
Shannon Wade
3rd place - Daniel Mangan
Runner Up - Rachel Gaidos

Runner Up - Madison Moore
Runner Up - Timothy Lea


Contestant #1: Elizabeth Barahona - http://youtu.be/7H_GlSMxDsw
Contestant #2: Shannon Wade - http://youtu.be/0A9c4dTOZBw
Contestant #3: Timothy Lea - http://youtu.be/eqY83GjWQiU
Contestant #4: Daniel Mangan - http://youtu.be/Jei62MK6rAQ
Contestant #5: Madison Moore - http://youtu.be/3b41z7BYOPM
Contestant #6: Rachel Gaidos - http://youtu.be/OzoqqCK61kM


The subject to be used for the Prepared Orations in the Oratorical Contest must be on some phase of the Constitution of the United States which will give 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.

Contestants may have in their possession a copy of their Prepared Oration in the First Holding Room. 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 prepared oration must be the original effort of each contestant and must not take up less than eight minutes or more that ten minutes for delivery. It must be delivered in the English language.

In the Prepared Oration, as well as in the Assigned Topic discourse, quotations must be indicated as such. Where quotations are more than ten words in length, the author's name must be given in the manuscript and cited orally.


The Assigned Topic discourse must not be 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 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, All Contestants at each contest level are required to speak in the English language on the same Assigned Topic. The current year Assigned Topics can be found at: http://www.legion.org/oratorical/topics


What to Wear - Uniforms are not permitted. Appropriate business attire is required by all contestants. Contestants are not permitted to wear awards and medals from previous competition.

Travel Expenses - The Department of Florida will pay the travel and lodging expenses of Area Winners and their chaperon to the State Contest. All contestants must be accompanied by a chaperon over 21 years of age.

Speaking Order - A drawing will be held to determine the order in which the contestants will appear. Contestants will be introduced by number only.

Notes or Podium - The use of notes, amplification, lectern, props or prompting in any manner is not permitted.

Participation - Contestants are required to remain in a private room, where the discourse of the other speakers cannot be heard, until it is their turn to speak.