District Contests must be completed by January 22, 2017.
Video: Oratorical Public Service Announcement
50 Years of Winning Orations in The American Legion Oratorical Contest Oratorical the Judges Briefing Videos: How To Conduct The Contest For more info go to http://www.legion.org/oratorical
Shown from left to right are Department Americanism Chair Larry Madsen of Gettysburg, with the 2016 place winners and other finalist. First place, Katrina Callahan of Hartford, sponsored by Humboldt American Legion Post #62; second place was Esther Swift of Burke, sponsored by Burke American Legion Post #28; third place finisher was Raina Grimsley of Mitchell, sponsored by the Mitchell American Legion Post #18. The remaining finalists in this years contest were Kadon Leddy of Stockholm, sponsored by the Milbank American Legion Post #9, Casady Kramer of Box Elder, sponsored by the Box Elder American Legion Post #315, and Maggie Fouberg of Aberdeen, sponsored by the Aberdeen American Legion Post #24, and Department Commander Terry Hanson of Arlington. Congratulations to all the contestants. You are all winners.
District Americanism Chair, and the Counties under the jurisdiction of each are as follows:
DIST. 1 – (Butte, Corson, Dewey, Harding, Lawrence, Meade, Perkins, and Ziebach Counties) Chairman, Craig Sanderson, firstname.lastname@example.org or 2411 Elk Rd. Sturgis, SD 57785. District 1 Contest will be held at the Sturgis Veterans Club, 868 Main St. Sturgis. On January 15th, 2017 1:00 p.m. Storm date, January 22,nd same time and location.
DIST. 2 – (Bennett, Custer, Fall River, Haakon, Jackson, Jones, Mellette, Pennington, Oglala Lakota, and Todd Counties) Chairman Paul Douglas, email@example.com or 632 Auburn Dr. Rapid City, SD 57701. District 2 Contest will be held at the Rapid City American Legion Post 22, 818 E. St. Patrick St., Rapid City on January 14,th 2017, 1:00 p.m. Storm date, January 21st same time and location.
DIST. 3 – (Gregory, Hand, Hughes, Hyde, Lyman, Potter, Stanley, Sully, and Tripp Counties) Chairman Larry Madsen, firstname.lastname@example.org or 906 E Commercial Ave., Gettysburg, SD 57442. District 3 Contest will be held at the Faith Lutheran Church Christian Living Center, 714 N Grand Ave, Pierre, SD on January 15th, 2017 2:00 p.m. with Storm date of January 22nd, 2017 , same time and location.
DIST. 4 – (Brown, Campbell, Edmunds, Faulk, McPherson, Spink, and Walworth Counties) Chairman Dale Strom, email@example.com or 115 N. Kline St, Aberdeen, SD 57401. District 4 Contest will be held at Redfield High School, 502 E 2nd St, Redfield, SD, on January 7th at 2:00 p.m. (contestants arrive by 1:30), with a Storm date of January 14th, 2017, same time & location.
DIST. 5 – (Brookings, Clark, Codington, Day, Deuel, Grant, Hamlin, Marshall, and Roberts Counties) Chairman Matt Lagerstrom, firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 647, White, SD 57276. District 5 Contest will be held at Milbank Post #9 in the Post Home on January 8th at 1:30 p.m. with a Storm date of January 15th, same time and location.
DIST. 6 – (Aurora, Beadle, Brule, Buffalo, Davison, Hanson, Jerauld, Kingsbury, Miner, and Sanborn Counties) Chairman Harry Huffman, email@example.com or 26221 413th Ave, Ethan, SD 57334. District 6 Contest will be held at the Mitchell High School, 920 N Capital St, Mitchell, SD on January 15th, 2017, 2:00 p.m. Storm date, January 22nd, same time and location.
DIST. 7 – (Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, Moody, and Union Counties) Chairman William Dolan, firstname.lastname@example.org or 514 N 1st St. Beresford, SD 57004. District 7 Contest will be held at the Humboldt Community Center S Main St., Humboldt on January 15th, 2017, 1:00 p.m. Storm date January 22nd, same time and location.
DIST. 8 – (Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Clay, Douglas, Hutchinson, Turner, and Yankton Counties) Chairman Wayne Brandt, email@example.com or 908 Bill Baggs Rd, Lot 16, Yankton, SD 57078. District 8 Contest will be held at the Yankton Community Library, 515 Walnut St., Yankton, SD on January 14th, 2017 10:00 a.m. Storm date January 21st, same place and time.
District Chairperson is in charge of their Dist. contest.
ALL District Contests must be completed on or before January 22, 2017.
Assigned topics for 2017
Amendment 7: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment 10: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Amendment 16: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Amendment 17: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures. When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies; Provided, that the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct. This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
Eligible participants must 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 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). The curriculum of the school must be considered to be of 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. Contestants must either be legally domiciled within or attend an educational institution within the department that they enter competition. Contestants can enter competition through only one department.
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.
The three finalists of the national contest are ineligible for further participation at any level.
The official in charge of the contest conducts a drawing to determine the order by which contestants will appear. The contest chairman introduces each contestant, then announces the title of the contestant’s prepared oration. The audience must refrain from applause until the judges make a decision.
A raised platform is not mandatory; however, it is strongly recommended. The use of notes, amplification, lectern or speaker’s stand or any manner of prompting is not permitted. Props are not permitted.
Contestants and audience members may not use any form of electronic/digital data gathering, receiving and/or transmitting equipment.
Contestants must deliver their prepared oration in no fewer than eight minutes and no more than 10 minutes. The assigned topic runs no fewer than three minutes and no more than five minutes.
The contest chairman names an official timer who keeps an accurate time record of each contestant. The timer is located on the main floor in full view of the contestants and will begin timing each contestant at the start of the prepared oration. The timer should have a stopwatch and time cards displaying the numbers 8, 9 and 10 for the prepared oration. When eight minutes have gone by, the time warning card with the number 8 is placed in full view of the speaker, followed by 9 and 10 accordingly. The same procedure is used during the assigned topic discourse with cards bearing 3, 4 and 5. The contest chairman will announce the time each contestant uses for the prepared oration and the assigned topic immediately after each contestant speaks in front of the judges.
Until their turn to speak, contestants must remain in a private room where other speakers’ discourses cannot be heard. The contest chairman will appoint an individual to supervise each contestant. As the contestants conclude their prepared orations, they must return to a soundproof waiting room. Speakers who conclude their assigned topic discourse may not associate with contestants who have not finished speaking.
Approximately five minutes before the start of the assigned topic discourse, the first contestant will be informed of the assigned topic drawn. He or she retires to privacy under the direction of an individual appointed by the contest chairman; it’s this individual’s duty to see that the contestant doesn’t consult any text matter or notes with any connection to the subject. Contestants may only reference the actual words of the topic provided on the card drawn.
Each succeeding contestant will be called upon in the order that he or she previously appeared. He or she will also, in turn, be informed of the topic of the assigned topic discourse and shall then be escorted to the same privacy provided for the first contestant.
Contestants must give their prepared oration and the assigned topic discourse to receive the scholarship monies to which they are entitled.
What to wear
Uniforms are not permitted. Appropriate business attire is required for all contestants. Contestants may not wear awards and medals from previous competitions.
The American Legion pays travel and lodging expenses for department winners and their chaperones. A chaperon over 21 years of age must accompany each contestant.
The American Legion does not assume liability for personal injury, property damage or loss sustained by any contestant or chaperon en route to or from the contest; however, The American Legion does carry a nominal group accident insurance policy on contestants accepted into the national competition. The American Legion selects an air carrier for contestants’ travel.
The contest chairman will appoint no fewer than three tabulators for the department finals contest. It’s their responsibility to review the judges’ scorecards to be certain they are fully tabulated and signed before being submitted for final tabulation.
Judges’ scorecards for department finals and the national contest will not be divulged to anyone at the site of the contest. All national contest judges’ scorecards become property of The American Legion National Headquarters.
Judges are an important part of the oratorical contest. Their qualifications are carefully considered, as their decisions are final and must be reached without bias. Impartial judging is the key to fairness and success of the program, which selects a national champion.
All department finals and the national contest have five judges, who are not allowed to receive any publicity before the event. During the contest, judges sit in different locations, and each renders his or her final decision without any sort of consultation.
Judges are advised to downgrade contestants who fail to emphasize the prepared oration and the assigned topic discourse on a citizen’s duties and obligations to our government. Judges can downgrade a contestant up to 10 points for failure to speak about the Constitution. The contest chairman will announce any time violations for contestants. A penalty of one point for each minute, or fraction thereof, shall be assessed toward the contestant’s total score.
Following the last assigned topic discourse, the judges, timekeepers, tabulators and contest chairman may proceed to a private room for final review and tabulation.
Television and radio
Live television and radio broadcasts are permitted in all contests, as well as filming, taping or other types of media for later showing, provided:
1. Lighting and other site conditions are the same for all contestants.
2. Filming or broadcasts in no way distract the contestants or interfere with the pre-announced scheduled time of the contest.
3. The normal speaking voice of the contestant is not interfered with or amplified within the auditorium.
4. The American Legion is in no way financially obligated without prior approval.
The judges are an integral part of the oratorical contest. Their qualifications are considered carefully as the decision of the judges is final and must be reached without bias. Impartial judging in all contests is the key to fairness and success of the program which results in the selection of a national champion.
All department finals and the national contest must use five judges. No publicity shall be given to the names of the judges in advance of the contest. During the contest, the judges will be seated in different locations in the auditorium and each judge shall render his or her final decision without consultation with other judges or any other person.
Judges will be advised that a lack of emphasis in the prepared oration and the assigned topic discourse on the duties and obligations of a citizen to our government must result in their downgrading the contestant. Judges are permitted to downgrade a contestant up to a maximum of 10 points for failure to speak about the Constitution. The contest chairman will announce any violation of time for each contestant. A penalty of one point for each minute, or fraction thereof, shall be assessed against the contestant’s total score.
The judges, timekeepers, tabulators and the contest chairman, following the last assigned topic discourse, may proceed to a private room for final review and tabulation. The decision of the judges is final.
The contest chairman will appoint no less than three tabulators for the department finals contest. It will be their responsibility to review the judges’ scorecards to be certain they are fully tabulated and signed before they are submitted for final tabulation.
Judges’ scorecards for department finals and the national contest will not be divulged to anyone at the site of the contest. The judges’ scorecards become the property of The American Legion National Headquarters.
National finals contest
- All contestants and chaperones will arrive on the Friday of the contest weekend. All contestants will be lodged at a hotel to be determined in Indianapolis.
- A mandatory pre-contest orientation session for all contestants will be held the Friday evening of the contest weekend.
- A banquet honoring all contestants will be held the Sunday afternoon of the contest weekend.
- All contestants and chaperones will depart for home late Sunday afternoon
For more information
Individuals interested in learning more about the contest should contact:
• For dates, sites and deadline information concerning local, district and state level competition, individuals should contact their nearby American Legion post or their state headquarters office of The American Legion.
• For information concerning the national contest, contact: Americanism Division, The American Legion, P.O. Box 1055, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1055; telephone (317) 630-1204; or email firstname.lastname@example.org