The American Legion is hosting its annual High School Oratorical Scholarship program.

The oratorical contest is open to any student up to 20 years of age by the day of the national contest. Students must be enrolled in a private, public, parochial or military high school or home school.

Participants begin competition on the local level. Winners then go on to compete on the county, department and state levels. Scholarship prizes for winners on the state level include $7,500 for first; $5,000 for second; and $4,000 for third. Those students then go on to compete on the regional and national levels.

Scholarship prizes for three finalists that make it to the national round include $18,000 for first place; $16,000 for second place; and $14,000 for third place. Each state winner who participates in the first round of the national contest will receive a $1,500 scholarship.

The purpose of the American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship program, "A Constitutional Speech Contest," is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of high school students.

Official rules and regulations, as well as eligibility can be found at http://www.legion.org/oratorical/rules.

More information on the oratorical contest can be found at http://www.legion.org/oratorical.

Anyone interested in participating should submit an application no later than Jan. 1, 2010.

All entries are to be mailed to either a local post, Harry Wynn III, vice chairman Eastern Section, 49 Thomas Jefferson Road, Lehighton, PA 18235 or contact Pat Clemens, Eastern Pennsylvania Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Four County Council secretary, at (570) 952-4249.