2019 Oratory Contest Rules and Information

Contest Rules


1.         Eligibility: To compete in the state and local contests, contestants must be in grades 9-12 as of

            January 31, 2019. To compete in the national contest, students must be a junior or senior (if the

            state’s first place winner is in Grade 9 or 10, he/she will win the $500 prize, and the next qualifying

            student in Grade 11 or 12 will advance to the national contest.). In case of non-traditional students

            or home-school students, the school must recognize the student as in the equivalent grade or the

            year the student will enter college will be used to determine eligibility.


2.        Students can only compete in one local affiliate contest in a contest year.


3.        Contestants are to research, write and present an original prolife speech on abortion, infanticide,

           euthanasia, or embryonic stem cell research (including human cloning if desired). The speech 

           should address one of these topics directly, using other topics only as support. Copyrighted

           speeches are not allowed. Contestants must use entirely new speeches if they compete in multiple

           years. Speeches must be typed in full and submitted with the contestant's application.


4.        Because the speech is to be an oration, appropriate gestures are allowed. The style and speech

           type should be appropriate to the message, but the speech must not be a dramatic presentation

           (i.e. portrayal of a baby in the womb, short story, poem, etc.). Quotes are fine but should not

           dominate the speech and must be appropriately attributed. Props are not permitted.


5.        The judges’ background and qualifications differ, although all are prolife. The speech should

           appeal to a broad audience.


6.        Speeches are to be 5-7 minutes long. Penalizing speeches outside the 5-7 minute range is left to

           the judges’ discretion during final tallying. Speeches under 4 or over 8 minutes will be disqualified.


7.        When using facts and statistics, contestants should be sure to use the most current information

           available and may be penalized by judges for using inaccurate information.


8.        Judging criteria for speakers includes: introduction, content, presentation, conclusion, and judges’

           overall opinion.


9.        Speech content may not be significantly changed as a contestant advances, though fine- tuning for

           minor corrections, timing, etc. is allowed and encouraged. A copy of the winner’s speech is

           forwarded to the sate and national levels to ensure that no major changes have been made.


10.      Memorization is not required and it is acceptable for contestants to use notes, or refer to their

           written speeches if necessary. Though not requires at the national level, most speeches are



11.      Contestants will have the option to use a podium and a microphone at the state contest.

           Microphones are generally not allowed at the national contest.


Rules and Information based upon rules from National Right to Life and past RLM oratory contests.