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Clarence Ortega
New Mexico Oratorical Chairman
The American Legion

High school students under age 20 are eligible. Competition begins at the post level and advances to a state competition. Legion department representatives certify one winner per state to the national contest, where department winners compete against each other in two speaking rounds. The contest caps off with a final round that decides the three top finishers.


Speaking subjects must be on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with some emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government. Speeches are eight to 10 minutes long; three- to five-minute speeches on an assigned topic also are part of the contest.

The American Legion Oratorical Scholarship Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years.

Young orators earn some of the most generous college scholarships available to high school students. Over $203;000 in scholarships can be awarded each year. The overall national contest winner gets an $25,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $22,5000, and third gets $20,000. Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $2,000 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $2,000 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $2,000. The American Legion’s National Organization awards the scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States.


Students have the opportunity to earn up to $25,000 in scholarships for higher education.


High School young men and women compete in competitions across the state and country exhibiting skills as masters of elocution.


Through the study of the Constitution students will emote the pillars of our government and make cases for the legalities for our rights.

2023 American Legion National Oratorical Contest
Haley Bock Prepared Oration
Zia Miller
2022 New Mexico Oratorical Winner
Las Cruces High School
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