Monday, December 7, 2009


Department of New York American Legion
High School Oratorical Contest 2010
“A Constitutional Speech Contest”

March 6th, 2010
Sand Creek Middle School
Albany, New York 12205

PURPOSE The purpose 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.

SCHOLARSHIPS & AWARDS New York – The American Legion, Department of New York offers Zone winners competing in the Department (State) Final, scholarship only, in the following amounts: 1st place - $6,000, 2nd place - $4,000, 3rd place - $2,500, 4th place - $2,000, and 5th place - $2,000. Payments are made directly to your college and are awarded over a four year period. Zone Awards are as follows: First place advances to Department Finals; Second place receives a $1,500 savings bond; Third place a $1,000 savings bond; and Fourth place, also a $1,000 savings bond.

The contest has four levels, County, District, Zone, and then Department before going on to the National Finals Contest. On the County level ONLY, the only timed speech is the Prepared Oration before judges. From the District level up the contest will consist of delivering two (2) timed speeches before judges. The first is the Prepared Oration; the second is the Assigned Topic Discourse. Orations must be delivered in the English language, without notes, a podium, or an amplification system, and must be from memory. Props are not permitted. The same orations used at the lower level contests are used in the Department (State) and National contest.

The Prepared Oration – The subject must be on some aspect of our Constitution with emphasis on the duties and obligations of a citizen to our government. The same subject and oration used in the New York contest must be used at the National contest. This oration must be an original effort and must take between 8 and 10 minutes to complete.

Assigned Topic Discourse – The Assigned Topic Discourse must be delivered between 3 and 5 minutes. The purpose is to test the speaker’s knowledge of the subject, the extent of his/her research, and the ability to relate to the basic principles of government under the Constitution. There are four (4) Assigned Topics. The one you will speak on will be drawn by a contest official and made known to you five (5) minutes before delivery. All contestants at each level are required to speak on the same selected topic. The Assigned Topics for 2009 can be found in the last page of the Department of New York brochure.

This is the state contest. Your local high schools should have information on how your local students can participate in this patriotic program concerning our Constitution. All local contests, county contests and district contests must be completed before advancing to the state contests.
Check with your local guidance counselors at your high schools. There may be some local awards in addition to the ones listed above.

More information may be obtained from the Legion Web site at

SCHOLARSHIPS Many local posts and auxiliaries offer their own scholarships to local students who are deserving and excel in their studies. Check with your local Post and see what they have to offer you.

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