The purpose of The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program “A Constitutional Speech Contest” is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States among 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, rights, and privileges of American citizenship.
Scholarship awards are presented to the three finalists in the final round of the national contest as follows: 1st place: $18,000; 2nd place: $16,000; 3rd place: $14,000. Each department (state) winner who is certi- fied into and participates in the first round of the national contest will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Each first round winner who advances to and participates in the second round, but does not advance to the final round, will receive an additional $1,500 scholarship to pursue education beyond high school.
The national organization of The American Legion will award scholarships to the three finalists, depart- ment winners, and first round winners who are eliminated during the second round of competition. These scholarships may be used to attend any college or university in the United States.
A contestant must give both his or her prepared oration and the assigned topic discourse to receive the scholarship.
In addition to the scholarships awarded by the national organization, there are several hundred scholar- ships awarded at the discretion of intermediate organizations, to participants at post, district or county, and department levels of competition.
Arrangements for contests leading to the department finals shall be the responsibility of each department (state) organization of The American Legion. For those levels of competition prior to the department finals, the rules and regulations set forth in this brochure are not mandatory — they are offered as a guideline.
However, all department finals contests shall conform with national contest procedures, rules and regulations, if the department wishes its finalist to compete in the national finals.
A winner certified to the National Americanism Division of The American Legion by a department which did not conduct its final competition in conformity with the rules and regulations as set forth herein may, in the judgment of the director of the Americanism Division or the director’s representative, be disqualified from competition in the national contest.
Each department may certify one contestant into the national contest. If for any reason the department winner is unable to compete in the national contest, the department first runner-up may be substituted fol- lowing approval by The American Legion’s National Americanism Commission. A department first runner-up accepted into national competition will be entitled to all national awards, entitlements and compensation that the department winner would have received had he/she participated at that level.