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The American Legion Oratorical Program

About the Oratorical Contest

Winners will earn scholarship money, chance to compete in national finals.

April 23, 2023, Haley Brock of Indiana left the American Legion National Oratorical Finals in Indianapolis, IN with $25,000 in college scholarship. She competed along with 48 other high school students in this premier two day speech contest.

For Haley’s winning oration, “The Black Hole of American Democracy: American Territories are Where Voting Rights Vanis,” Brock speaks on the over four million U.S. citizens in the American territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands who are denied their right to vote because of the Insular Cases. As she wrote, “because of the Insular Cases, citizens in the territories exist in what a dissenting justice called :the disembodied shad’ o ‘limbo status. Existing, but not heard from. Present but not represented. Four million Americans all live in alternate dimension of disenfranchisement.”

This 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 subject in the prepared oration portion of the contest must be about some phase of the Constitution of the United States, emphasizing the duties and obligations of a citizen.  The prepared oration must be the original effort of each contestant and must be 8-10 minutes in length. The speeches are done without amplification, notes or a podium.

The student must also prepare shorter speeches to be presented in a 3-5 minute format and based on one of four Amendments selected by American Legion leadership each year.

Beginning the next Oratorical year(2023-2024)

Contests at local American Legion Posts will be held Oct.-Dec. (2023)

The 5 District contests will be held Nov.- Jan.

The Department contest will be in February, 2024

Awards of $1500, $750, and $500 go to the first through third places in the March Department contest.

The winner of the Vermont Department contest goes to the National Contest, Indianapolis, IN April, 2024. The American Legion will pay the expenses of state winners at the national contest.

Each state winner who competes in the first round of the national contest will receive a $2,000 scholarship.  Participants in the second round who do not advance to the national final round will receive an additional $2,000 scholarship.  The top three youth orators who have won all previous elimination rounds of the contest will vie for top honors in the national contest.

In addition to the awards by winners of the various elimination rounds of competition, college scholarships of $25,000, $22,500, and $20,000 will be awarded to the first through third places in the national finals. 

High school students who are interested in entering the competition will find additional information at https://www.legion.org/oratorical

Complete contest rules   https://www.legion.org/publications/246265/oratorical-contest-rules    

Four Amendments of the Assigned Topics as subject matter  https://www.legion.org/oratorical/topics

Student application for participation must be postmarked no later than  October 14, 2023.

Submitting an application gives the Program Manager an idea of where to concentrate efforts and resources. It does not immediately obligate the student to a speech.

Karlene DeVine           (802) 877-6392          kdevine@myfairpoint.net 
Department of Vermont American Legion
Oratorical Program Chair

Father, Antony Gnanaapiragasam, 2023 Vermont Oratorical First Place winner, Jeswin Antony, Vermont Department Oratorical Chair, Karlene DeVine

Contact Information

Oratorical Contest Resources
Rules and Regulations

Contact Number
Karlene DeVine,
Department Oratorical Chair



Documents / Forms

High School Oratorical Program Application

(Header Photo by Lucas Carter) Geeta P. Minocha of Ocala, Fla., delivers her prepared oration during the National High School Oratorical Contest finals in Indianapolis.

The American Legion
Department of Vermont HQ
126 State Street, P.O. Box 396
Montpelier, Vermont 05601-0396
Fax: (802)223-0318

Service Officer Information
Larry Thompson - DSO
American Legion Service Office
215 No. Main St.
White River Jct., VT 05009
Phone: (802)296-5166
Office: (802)295-9363 X5166 OR 5266 Email:Lawrence.thompson@va.gov

Residents Of NH
Michael Hartt - (603)222-5786


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