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!

Past Winner, Honor Persing poses with her mother Michelle, Oratorical Chair, John Looker, and two of the esteemed speech Judges.


Due to Covid-19 and restrictions from Governor DeWine on being able to meet, this year’s Department Oratorical Contest was a bit of a challenge. For the first year ever, the Department Oratorical Contest was held via Zoom video conferencing.  Emily Schutte, a home-schooled student from Beavercreek, Ohio out of the 3rd District is the 2020 winner of the Department of Ohio American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program “A Constitutional Speech Contest”.

The High School Sophomore earned $2,500 in scholarship monies but unfortunately will not able compete at the National contest held in Indianapolis, Indiana against winners of contests from the other 52 states and territories of these United States of America. However, since the National Oratorical Contest was cancelled, National is honoring all Department winners by giving them an additional $2,000 scholarship.

The 2020 Department Oratorical Contest had 9 District winners participate this year. Each contestant delivered a prepared oration as well as an oration on a randomly assigned constitutional topic.  Emily Schutte impressed the judges with a speech titled, The Protection of Our Freedom.

Emma Sedlak, a senior from Russell, Ohio out of the 13th District came in second place earning a $1,500 scholarship.

A special thanks to all other contestants for representing their districts.

Abigail Bozigar- District 1; Honor Persing- District 4; Micaela Coon- District 5; Zachary Zader-  District 6; Mara Kajula- District 9; Lillian Whitcomb- District 10; and Chase Ake- District 11.

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.


There were 10 contestants represented as the District Oratorical Winners:

  • District 1 – Abigail Bozigar
  • District 2- Ethan Nickels
  • District 3 – Emily Schutte
  • District 4 – Honor Persing
  • District 5- Micaela Coon
  • District 6 – Zachary Zader
  • District 9 – Mara Kajula
  • District 10 – Lillian Whitcomb
  • District 11 – Chase Ake
  • District 13- Emma Sedlak

Oratorical Committee Members

Stanley Oren

John McJunkin

William ‘Bill’ Carpenter

John Looker (Co-Chairman)


Roy Terry (Co-Chairman)

Patricia Dewees

Robert Schmoll Jr.

Gary Minadeo

Edward Long

Victor Smith

Thomas Rowe Jr.

John Betterson

Robert ‘Bob’ Carson

Contest Dates

  • District Contests
    • District 1- February 7th
    • District 2- Fed 21st
    • District 3- Feb 21
    • District 4- Feb 21
    • District 5-
    • District 6- Jan 31
    • District 7-
    • District 8-
    • District 9- Feb 7
    • District 10- Feb 21
    • District 11-
    • District 12-
    • District 13-
    • District 14- Feb 7
  • Department Date- Sunday March 7th, 2021 at 10:00AM
  • National Date- April 10th and 11th, 2021

Interested in signing up for the Oratorical Contest?

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