John C Looker | Oratorical Committee Chairman

Phone: 513-290-4511 | Email:

Christie White | Oratorical Committee Staff Liaison

Phone: 740-513-5199 | Email:



Summary of the Oratorical Program:

The Oratorical Program is a function of the American Legions’ “Americanism Pillar”. The Oratorical Program is a constitutional speech contest for high school students and it offers scholarships upwards of $25,000. The contest has a prepared oration and an assigned topic which is assigned the day of the contest. The prepared 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 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.

A Champion is Crowned!

Katherine Toepfer – District 9 – Department Contest Winner

The American Legion Department of Ohio held our annual Department Oratorical Contest on Sunday March 17th at Department Headquarters.
The 2024 Contestants were….


  • Adam Smith, District 1
  • Allison Dirksen, District 2
  • Gabriel Schutte, District 3
  • Alisa Zhao, District 4 – Runner-up
  • Srinidhi Valahappan, District 4
  • Sarah Betterson, District 5
  • Chase Hamilton, District 8
  • Katherine Toepfer, District 9 – Winner
  • Kaden Knappenberger, District 10
  • Minerva Rajkumar, District 12
  • Kandace McConnell, District 12


First Place was won by Katherine Toepfer for a scholarship amount of $2,500, and Second Place was won by Alisa Zhao for a scholarship award of $1,500.
We would like to congratulate all the participants of the 2024 Department Oratorical Contest, You all were AMAZING!

A very special THANK YOU to all of our volunteers and individuals who came out to support the contestants. This contest or program would not be the same without you! You are all absolutely amazing. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Good Luck at the National Contest, Katherine! We know you will represent Ohio well!


Since 1938, The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program has encouraged the nation’s high school students to study the U.S. Constitution and to hone their public speaking skills.


2024 State Oratorical Contestants

Oratorical Committee Members

Harold Landis

Thomas Tierney

William Carpenter

John Looker (Chairman)


John Loudermilk


Don Capps

Gary Minadeo

Ed Long Jr.

April Ogilbee

Malcolm Glasgow

Stanley Popek

Jacob Marx

Contest Dates

  • District 1 – TBA
  • District 2 – Feb 17th
  • District 3 – March 3rd / Springfield
  • District 4 – Feb 25th
  • District 5 – March 3rd / Post 12 Elyria
  • District 6 – TBA
  • District 7 – TBA
  • District 8 – March 9th
  • District 9 – March 3rd
  • District 10 – Feb 11th / Post 34 Cadiz
  • District 11 – TBA
  • District 12 – March 3rd
  • District 13 – TBA
  • District 14 – Feb 25th

    ­ ­


  • Department Date- Sunday, March 17th, 2024 (District winners need to be submitted into the Department by March 11th. Department winners need to be submitted to National by April 1st, 2024.)
  • National Date- 2024 National Finals will be May 17-19 in Hillsdale, Mich., at Hillsdale College » 2024 National Quarter Final Oratorical pairing bracket

The American Legion Oratorical Rules brochure for 2024 now is available on the Legion website at or The updated Rules brochure contains the assigned topics for 2024, which may also be found in the above table or at

Interested in signing up for the Oratorical Contest?

Fill out the form below, thank you.
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