American LegionThe American Legion - Department of NJ

High School Oratorical Scholarship Program

Thirty First edition of  THE AMERICAN LEGION  High School Oratorical Scholarship Program “A Constitutional Speech Contest”

Download 2019 Rules / Application / Letter / Assigned Topics

2019 Oratorical Rules Brochure

2019 Bergen County American Legion Oratorical Application

2019 Oratorical Contest Letter

2019 Assigned Topics

The contest was developed primarily to instill a better knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States in high school students. Other objectives include the development of leadership qualities, the ability to think and speak clearly, and the preparation for acceptance of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship.

Another purpose of the program is to assist students in paying the high cost of a college education. The first place winner takes home $18,000 and the next two finishers receive $16,000 and $14,000. First round participants in the National Contest receive a $1,500 scholarship. Second round participants who do not advance to the final round will receive an additional $1,500 scholarship.

The New Jersey Contest will award a $4,000 scholarship for the first place winner, $2,500 for second place, $2,000 for third place and $1,000 each for fourth and fifth place.

The New Jersey winner will advance to the National Finals Contest, a weekend’s competition of Quarter-final, Semi-final and National final contests that are held in the headquarters city of The American Legion, Indianapolis, Indiana. The 2019 American Legion High School Oratorical National Finals will be held on April 7, 2019.

The contact information listed is provided for your convenience. Find the county that you live in or attend school in and contact the associated District Chairman for guidance.

Chairman Steven Fisher
Vice Chairman Phil Wien


POST LEVEL to be completed by January 12, 2019 (Results to the County Chairman by January 19, 2019)

COUNTY LEVEL to be completed by January 26, 2019 (Results to the District Chairman by February 2, 2019)

DISTRICT LEVEL to be completed by February 9, 2019 (Results to the Department and Department Chairman immediately after contest completion)

Department Finals will be held on February 23, 2019 at the War Memorial Building, Trenton, NJ

National Quarter Finals Round will be held Saturday morning, April 6, 2019.

National Semi-Finals Round will be held Saturday afternoon, April 6, 2019.

National Final Round will be held Sunday morning, April 7, 2019

All National competitions will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana.

PDF District Chairmans Report Form

District Chairmen
District #1- TBA
Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic
District #2- Daniel McCole
Morris, Sussex, Union and Warren
District #3 – Dan Dunn
Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset
and Monmouth
Feb 2nd, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.
Woodbridge Municipal Building
1 Main St. Woodbridge
NJ 07095
District #4 – TBA
Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Ocean
District #5 – Russell Robinson
Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem
Cell: (609) 513-5514


Oratorical Contest


Eligible participants in The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program 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 who is presently enrolled in a high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or home school) in which the curriculum of said school 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 American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program.

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 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 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 (8) minutes or more than ten (10) 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. 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.

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 singing of a song(s) 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.

 Assigned Topic Discourse

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/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 Constitution of the United States as listed under assigned topics in Chapter Four.

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

 Assigned Topics for 2019 contest

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.


Uniforms of any kind are not permitted. Appropriate business attire is required of all contestants. Contestants are not permitted to wear awards and medals from previous competition.

Awards For 2018-2019
New Jersey Department Finals
1st Place $4,000
2nd Place $2,500
3rd Place $2,000
4th Place $1,000
5th Place $1,000
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