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318 Donelson Pike, Nashville, TN

The American Legion Department of Tennessee


John Keys - Chairman - 901-481-8752,
Sherri Mayberry - Secretary - 615-391-5088,

The American Legion's National High School Oratorical Scholarship Program - "A Constitutional Speech Contest" aims to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of high school students.

Scholarships totaling $6,000 will be awarded to students taking part in the state contest. The state winner will receive a $3,000 scholarship, plus an all expenses paid trip to Indianapolis, Indiana, to compete in the national contest, April 15-17, 2016 and a part of the $138,000 national scholarship pool.

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.

If you are a high school student who would like to participate, or a teacher or parent of a student who would like to participate, please use this website to gain a better understanding of the contest.

To apply for the contest, complete the application form below by clicking on the blue "
ORATORICAL APPLICATION/CERTIFICATION FORM" and return it to your local contest Post or District Chairman as instructed. Remember Application/School Certification of their contest representatives must arrive at The American Legion Department of Tennessee, 318 Donelson Pike, Nashville TN 37214 not later than January 9, 2017.



District Contests are from January 14, 2017 to January 28, 2017

District Date/Time Location Points of Contact

1/21/2017, 1:00 pm

American Legion Post 24, 409 E Market St., Johnson City TN 37601 Gary Stidham, 423-914-2990,
2 1/15/2017, 2:00 pm American Legion Post 53, 624 Morgan Ave, Harriman TN 37748

William Cole,  865-209-0076-c; 865-882-0953-h


1/21/2017,  9:00 am

East Ridge City Hall, 1517 Tombras Ave, East Ridge, TN 37412 Bill Norton, 423-593-6281,

1/14/2017, 10:00 am

Tennnessee Technical University (TTU) 1000 North Dixie Ave., Executive Dinning Room, 2nd floor, Cookeville, TN  38505 Larry Crask, 931-349-8803,

1/14/2017 10:00 am

Coffee County High School, 100 Red Raiders Dr., Manchester TN 37355

Paul Gish, (931) 409-0047,

1/14/2017, 10:00 am

Operation Stand Down, 1125 12th Ave., South, Nashville, TN  37203

Rick Baur, 615-926-6522,


1/21/2017 2:00 pm

American Legion Post 19, 812 Nashville Hwy, Columbia TN 38401 Charles Sanders, 931-388-2482, 

1/21/2017 9:00 am

Scotts Hill High School, 7871 TN-100, Reagan, TN 38368 Danny Frizzell, 731-968-8627,
9 1-21-2017 9:00 am

University of Tennessee at Martin (UT Martin), 544 University St., Martin, TN  38237

Mike Wright, 731-431-7736,

10 1/21/2017 9:00 am Kirby High School, 4080 Kirby Pkwy, Memphis, TN 38115

Rickie Parker, Jr., (720) 333-9189,


Divisional Contests are February 11, 2017 to February 25, 2017

Division Date/Time Location Points of Contact

2/18/2017 at 10:05 am

University of TN, ROTC Bldg., 1400 White Ave., Knoxville, TN 37996

Marty Everett, 865-399-7715,


2/11/2017 at 1:00 pm

First Baptist Church of Manchester, 1106 Hillsboro Hwy, Manchester, TN 37355

Larry Crask, 931-349-8803


2/15/2017 at 2:45 pm

Humboldt Medical Center; 3525 Chere Carol Road, Humboldt TN 38343

Thomas Raines, 731-222-0058 (c)      731-784-4124 (h)



Saturday,  March 4, 2017 @ 10 a.m.

 The American Legion Department of Tennessee 318 Donelson Pike   Nashville TN 37214 


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.

Contestants may have a copy of their prepared oration while waiting in the first holding room. They may consult the copy until they exit to begin the contest. The copy will then be surrendered to the contest official monitoring the first holding room.

Quotations must always be indicated as such. Where quotations are more than 10 words in length, the author’s name must be given in the manuscript and cited orally.

It is acceptable to utilize or incorporate short phrases in a foreign language to develop the argument, establish a point, etc. It should be understood that the vast majority of the prepared oration and/or assigned topic must still be delivered in English. Singing is not permitted and will result in immediate disqualification. The contestant may, however, quote a verse(s) of a song(s) provided proper attribution is made.

Assigned Topics for 2017 Oratorical Contest

Amendment 7
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment 10
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Amendment 16
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment amoung the several States respectively, or to the people.
Amendment 17
The Senate of the United States shall be cmoposed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.  The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.  When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacanies; Provided, that the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.  This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator Chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

News Release / PSA Templates

  • Oratorical Contest Suggested PSAs (PDF / WORD)
  • Oratorical Contest Suggested News Release (PDF / WORD)
  • Oratorical Contest Suggested News Release (Winner) (PDF / WORD)

Oratorical Contest Videos

Oratorical Judging, Scoring & Tabulation

Oratorical Chairmen’s Conference Materials


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