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Oratorical Contest Application, rules and flyer

The George F. McKerley Memorial Oratorical

Contest Application


Address City

State Zip Code_________________ Phone:_____________ E-mail ________________________________

Date of Birth / / Age ___________

Parent or Guardian Permission:

I give my permission for my child/ward to participate in this contest.

Signature_________________________________________ Date / / Relationship __________________

I,_____________________________________ grant the Calhoun County Democratic Executive Committee my permission to use a picture of my child______________________________________________________ for their public relation purposes. (Website, FB page, newspaper)

Please use one of the following methods to download/copy the application - then get the completed application to us not later than February 15th 😊 Questions? Call the contest chair at 256-225-3370.

The application must be received no later than February 15th. Mail applications to Calhoun County Democrats, PO Box 563, Jacksonville, AL 36265. You may also drop off the signed application at the Jim and Shirley Justice Center, 812 Noble Street, Anniston, AL, between 10am and 4pm on Wednesdays before February 15 , AND on February 15th from 10 am until 4 pm; or email a photo or PDF file of the signed form to the contest chair at The competition will be held on February 24th at 6 pm at the Jim and Shirley Justice Center, 812 Noble Street, Anniston, AL. Questions? Call the contest chair at 256-225-3370.


1st Annual George F. McKerley Memorial Oratorical Contest Topic: “Should there be limits to free speech? Why or why not?”

General Rules Section I — Qualifications For Contestants

1. The contest is open to students grades 5 – 12 living in Calhoun County as well as surrounding counties of Cherokee, Cleburne, Etowah, St Clair, and Talladega. Home schooled students are encouraged to apply. 2. Each contestant shall prepare their own speech. The contestant may receive advice in the preparation of the speech and may make minor changes or improvements in the speech at any time.

Section II — Contest Rules

1. All contestants must speak on the official topic. 2. All contestants must state the official topic before beginning their speech for the timekeeper to record the exact time of the speech. A 3-point penalty is automatically assessed by the timekeeper for failure to state the official topic. 3. Any quotation or copyrighted material used in the speech must be identified verbally during the presentation and in the written copy of the speech with the original author’s name. The contestant shall be fully responsible for the use of any quoted material. Failure to identify non-original material will result in disqualification. 4. The use of props, special costumes or clothing, or the use of prompters will not be permitted. The penalty will be disqualification. Notes and lecterns can be used if the contestant desires. 5. The time allowed will be not under 4 minutes or over 5 minutes. Contestants going over or under will not be cautioned, and will be penalized one point for each 15 seconds or fraction of over or under the allotted time. This penalty will be determined by the official timekeeper. 6. Timing will begin immediately after the official topic is stated. Any salutation to judges, audience, etc, should precede the announcement of the topic. Timing will stop when the contestant finishes. 7. No reference can be made that identifies the student, parents, school, community, or sponsor. This will result in a deduction of 5 points or a fraction of based on the degree of identification. 8. Contestants shall not be identified by name until after the last speaker has finished and the judges and timekeeper have left the room. 9. Any protest in the conduct at any level of this contest must be made immediately after the condition is noted or, to avoid interrupting timekeeping, at the end of that contestant’s speech. Protests received after the next contestant has been introduced, or in the case of the last contestant, after the judges leave to total the scores, will not be accepted. 10. The Contest Chairperson will decide all protests in accordance with the official rules. The decision of the Contest Chair is final and no higher appeals will be recognized.

Section III – Judging and Timing

1. Each contest shall have three qualified judges and one timekeeper. 2.The judges and the timekeepers cannot be identified at the time of the contest or by advance publicity, but only after the last speaker has finished.

3. Judges and the timekeeper must use the official score sheets provided in this guide.

4.The timekeeper shall be provided with a stopwatch or equivalent timing device.

5. Each judge must render a final decision on all contestants without consulting other judges or any other person. Each judge and timekeeper must sign his/her official score sheet.

6.The result of a judge’s decision must be kept confidential. No one shall attempt to discuss a contestant’s score with a judge.

7. After the judges have totaled their scores for each contestant, deducted penalty points and ranked each contestant, the judges shall sign their score sheets and give them to the Contest Chair. Each judge’s score and rank for each contestant shall then be entered and tabulated on the Official Contest Report Form. From this form, the winner will be determined.

Section IV - Scoring

Scoring will conform to the following criteria:

· Poise – appearance and personality: 20 pts

· Content of Speech – subject adherence, theme, content, logic and color: 35 points

· Delivery & Presentation – voice, volume, pronunciation, gestures, eye contact, sincerity and emphasis: 35 points

· Overall Effectiveness – appeal, impression, attitude and effect: 10 points

Section V – Penalties

1. Failure to announce the official topic - 3 points

2. Failure to identify non-original material - disqualification

3. Use of props, costume, etc. – disqualification

4. Time penalties – 1 point for each 15 seconds or fraction of over or under the allotted time

5. Self-identification – 5 points or fraction of based on degree of identification

6. Failure to complete speech – disqualification

Section VI — Awards

1st place $250

2nd place $125

3rd place $50



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