The American Legion Department of Virginia 2nd District

High School Oratorical Contest

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For students seeking an academic challenge and an opportunity to earn college scholarship money, the American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program is a natural fit. For more than 80 years, this constitutional speech contest has educated youth on our nation’s founding document, with an emphasis on citizenship.

The main purpose of the American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the U.S. Constitution among students. Participants also grow in leadership ability, their capacity to think and speak clearly and intelligently, and understanding of the rights, responsibilities, obligations and privileges of U.S. citizens.

All contestants must be younger than 20 years on the date of the national contest and enrolled in a high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or state accredited homeschool) in which the curriculum is considered to be high-school level, commencing with grade 9 and terminating with grade 12. Students must be enrolled in high school or junior high school during the time of participation at any level of the American Legion National High School Oratorical Contest.

High-school students who graduate early 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 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 used for the prepared oration must be on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with an emphasis on a citizen’s duties and obligations. 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 be delivered in no fewer than eight minutes and no more than 10 minutes. It must be delivered in the English language.

Assigned topic – The purpose of the assigned topic oration 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 it relates to the basic principles of government under the Constitution. Generally, the topic is a constitutional amendment; it could be the entire amendment or specific articles.

The assigned topic oration must be between three and five minutes. Each year, the list of assigned topics is made available prior to the contest and posted online at

This years competition is scheduled for January 13, 2024 at Post 327 in Norfolk, VA. Please reach out to your school guidance counsleor or Home schooled children meeting the above guidelines are encouged to participate.