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The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) invites all high school students (9th through 12th grades) interested in the American Revolution to participate in the Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest.  The SAR has sponsored this contest since 1947.

The purposes of the contest are:

  • To support historical research in high schools by promoting oratorical presentations related to our Revolutionary War period 1750-1800.
  • To emphasize American History to the high school student and focus on an intelligent relationship between the past and the present.
  • To place a positive emphasis on the plans of our founding fathers.
  • To facilitate enhancement of public speaking skills in young people who are future leaders of our Nation.

The contest is open to all students attending home schools, public, parochial, or private high school students in that same grade range. While the preliminary rounds of the contest begin at the local level, students may eventually advance to the state or national levels, eventually held in June during the annual SAR Congress.

Each student’s five- to six-minute speech (and accompanying manuscript) will be judged based upon its composition, delivery, significance, and historical accuracy and relevance.

Participants must write an original oration of not less than five minutes, or more than six minutes. The oration must be delivered from memory and without the use of notes or any kind of props. The subject of the oration shall deal with an event, a personality, or a document pertaining to the Revolutionary War with an emphasis on our nation’s 250th anniversary celebration. It is essential that each oration show the relationship it bears to America today. Evidence of historical research and creative presentation are also important. The oration will be judged based upon its composition, delivery, significance, historical accuracy and relevance to our 250th anniversary.

Three cash scholarship awards are given: the National First Place Winner receives $5,000; the 2nd Place Runner-up receives $3,000; and the 3rd Place Runner-up receives $2,000 cash prize. Each also receives an Olympic-sized medal. All other finalists (4th through 6th Place runners-up) are awarded $400 and all other national contestants are awarded $200.

As with all of our Youth contests, entry begins here at the local level with the Pensacola Chapter.  The Chapter winner will then advance to the Florida State Competition, and hopefully on to National!

Students interested in this contest should use the Contest Interest form on this page to contact our chapter.  The Chapter winner will be determined in February of 2024, so all entries must be received by January 15, 2024!

Historical Oration Contest Information Flyer

Historical Oration Contestant Entry Packet

Contest Interest Form

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