Department of Florida

Regulations

There is no application for the Oratorical Contest. If interested please contact your local post to sign-up for their contest. Need help finding a post? Use our post locator.

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Eligibility

  • Must be a citizen or lawful permanent residents of the United States and a resident of the State of Florida
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Travel Expenses for State Contest

The Department of Florida will pay the travel and lodging expenses of Area winners and their chaperon to the State contest. A chaperon must accompany all contestants over 21 years of age.

Tabulators

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

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:

  • Lighting and other site conditions are the same for all contestants.
  • Filming or broadcasts in no way distract the contestants or interfere with the pre-announced scheduled time of the contest.
  • The normal speaking voice of the contestant is not interfered with or amplified within the auditorium. A

The American Legion is in no way financially obligated without prior approval.