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High School Oratory Contest 2023

All high school students are invited to compete. Students will present their speeches in Erie, Pennsylvania on April 15, 2023. The contest will begin at 11:00 a.m..

Contestants will research, write and present an original 5-to-7-minute pro-life speech on a topic related to abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or embryo-destructive experimentation.

both levels

For more information contact People for Life at or (814) 882-1333.

Please register with People for Life by April 10, sooner if possible.

A video of the same speech can be entered in the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation's statewide oratory contest.

Speeches may range in tone from polemical (argumentative) to purely informational, from inspirational to provocative. Topics can be chosen from a wide range of basic human life issues related to abortion, euthanasia (including assisted suicide), denial of life-saving medical treatment, exploitation of human embryos, human cloning, and the harvesting of tissues and organs from aborted babies.

Contestants may address the sad or unpleasant that go along with these topics, but there are many upbeat topics to consider as well: adoption, motherhood, pregnancy, fetal development, personal experiences with pro-life activities (e.g., the March for Life, volunteering), and the blessings of knowing people with mental or physical challenges (e.g., Down Syndrome), to name a few. We are happy to advise contestants who are unsure about what topic they should choose and to suggest places to look for accurate information.

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Peope for Life's High School Oratory Contest is intended to help students, regardless of their current speaking skills, to develop the ability to share their pro-life views with others. Students gain knowledge and speaking experience by researching a pro-life topic of their choice and presenting what they have learned, as well as their own reactions to what they have learned, to a small, friendly audience.

2023 Contest Rules

1. Competition will take place on two levels, a juniors / senior level and a freshman / sophomore level. The junior / senior level is open to any student who has not completed the 12th grade. The freshman / sophomore level is open to any student who has not completed the 10th grade.

2. Contestants will research, write, and present an original pro-life speech on abortion, infanticide, or euthanasia.

3. Speeches are to be 5 to 7 minutes in length. Speeches under 4 minutes or over 8 minutes will be disqualified.

4. Appropriate gestures are allowed. Props are not allowed.

5. The contestant should use up-to-date factual information.

6. The style should be appropriate to the message of the speech. Although quotes to support a position or statement are appropriate, they may not dominate the speech, and should be appropriately citied. Dramatic presentations (i.e., acting as a thing or another person, such as acting out the life of an unborn baby) are not allowed. However, a speech that conveys strong emotions is entirely acceptable.

7. The judges’ background and qualifications differ, although all are pro-life, the speech should appeal to a broad audience.

8. Contestants may use notes.

9. The use of a podium is optional but it is possible that a podium will not be available.

10. Microphones will not be used.

11. There will be 3 judges and a timekeeper.

12. Speaking order will be determined by lottery.

13. The judges will score the contestants in 4 areas; introduction, content, presentation, and conclusion. Contestants are given a score of 1-10 (10 being the best) in each area. The scores are added together (40 being perfect). The judges’ scores are added together for the grand total. The grand total will determine the winners.

14. The judges’ decision will be final.

15. Ties will be handled by the Contest Director.