The American Legion's National High School Oratorical Contest 2023

The purpose of The American Legion’s National High School Oratorical Contest is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of 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, the rights and privileges of American citizenship. 

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 where they enter the competition. Contestants can enter the 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 oration must be on some aspect of the Constitution, with emphasis on a citizen’s duties and obligations to our government. The same subject and oration used in the department contest must be used in the national contest.

The assigned topic discourse must not consume less than three (3) minutes or more than five (5) minutes for delivery. The purpose of the assigned topic discourse is to test the speaker's knowledge of the subject, the extent of his or her research, and the ability to discuss the topic as related to the basic principles of government under the Constitution.

The assigned topic shall be drawn by the contest official in full view of the audience immediately before the last speaker begins delivery of his or her prepared oration and will be made known to the audience and each contestant approximately five (5) minutes prior to the time of delivery. The topic will be on some phase of the U.S. Constitution, selected from Articles and Sections as listed under assigned topics for the current year's contest in this brochure.

All contestants at each contest level are required to speak in the English language on the same assigned topic.

Interested in competing but not sure where to start? Post 88 offers one-on-one speech coaching for interested students. Please contact Tia McMillen,, for more information. 

The American Legion's National High School Oratorical Contest 2023 Candidate

Trenton James Andrew McMillen, a 12th-grade student at Nansemond River High School, was the winner of the 2023 Post, District, Region, and State level competition. Trenton James advanced to Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 25-26, 2023. Trenton James won his first round but did not win his second. In total, Trenton James earned more than $5,000 in scholarships in 2023, and met some lifelong friends along the way. BZ, Trenton!