Oratorical Scholarship Contests
The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. The national contest winner gets an $18,000 scholarship, second place takes home $16,000, and third gets $14,000. Each State (department) winner who participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $1,500 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $1,500 scholarship. American Legion scholarship awards can be used at any college or university in the United States. Competitors present an 8-10 minute prepared speech on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, and a 3-5 minute speech on an assigned topic (one of four amendments). Legion department representatives certify one winner per State to the national contest.
Eligiblility: High school students under age 20 are eligible.How To enter: contact the post nearest you. Local post contests begin each year in October, by December most post contests are completed.
Texas Oratorical Department Representative: Jim Heath, 940-382-3465
The Optimist Oratorical Contest gives students the chance to speak and earn up to $2500 in college scholarships. Nearly 2,000 clubs participate in this program each year. The winners at the Club level receive medallions and Zone winners receive a plaque. Districts have the opportunity to provide two $2,500 scholarships or a first place scholarship of $2,500, a second place scholarship of $1,500, and a third place scholarship of $1,000.
Eligiblility: Students under the age of 19 years as of December 31 of the school year and who are educated in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean.
How To Enter: Interested students submit a speech on the pre-assigned topic to their local Optimist Club. To find out the contact in your area, please e-mail the Programs Department at . The deadline to enter is determined by the sponsoring Optimist Club. All Club-level contests are typically held by late March.
North Texas Representatives: Mike Cheves (), 817-269-5914 or Jill Rodgers ().
The Voice of Democracy is the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program. Each year, more than 50,000 high school students compete for more than $2.3 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by writing and recording a speech on an annual theme (check the VFW website to find out this year's theme). Prizes and scholarships are awarded at the local, district, state and national level. One winner for every 15 entries from each Post advances to District and one District winner advances to the state (Department) competition. Department (State) winners receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to tour the city, meet our nation’s leaders, compete in the finals competition and receive their award, the top scholarship being $30,000.
Contact: If you need help finding a participating VFW Post in your area, call (816) 968-1117 or email .
Rotary 4-way Speech Contest
Students present a 5-minute speech on the topic “What the 4-way Test Means to Me.” Contestants present an original speech with facts, statistics, stories, examples, and quotations about applying the Rotary Four-Way test to an important issue in our everyday relationships with other people. Add some humor and personal touches, but do not mention your name, school or city or the location of your sponsoring Rotary Club. Written scripts are not allowed (3x5 cards may be used). The 5-minute time limit is strictly enforced. There may be a monetary award for first, second and third place finishers at the club level. The winner of each club competition advances to the regional competition and regional winners advance to the final competition held at the Rotary District Conference in May.
The Rotary 4-way test: Of the things we think, say and do: Is it the Truth? Is it Fair to all concerned? Will it Build Goodwill and Better Friendships? Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?
Eligiblility: Contestants must be high school students in 9th through 12th grade
How To enter: contact a rotary club nearest you.District Coordinator: Eva Poole ()
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