The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration
Scholarship Contest

Deadline for entry to Chapter – December 31stOration_Contest Medallion

     The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Scholarship Contest is open to all high school contestants (9th-12th grade). The contestant is to research and prepare a speech on a  subject dealing with an event, personality, or document about the American Revolutionary War and show a relationship to America today. The contestant will present the speech, which must be at least five (5) minutes, but no longer than six (6) minutes, in length. The contestant is required to present the speech from memory without any notes. The oration must be essentially the same as the submitted manuscript. More information on the Oration contest can be found at:

     Beginning in 2021, 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. For more information on the nation’s 250th anniversary celebration, please visit

     The completed contestant package is due by December 31st. This will enter the contestant into the chapter contest. The contestant must send the manuscript at least two weeks before the chapter contest. Depending upon the number of entrants, contestants may participate in a regional competition rather than a chapter contest.


Official Rules of The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Scholarship Contest

  • The contest is open to all freshman, sophomore, junior and senior students (Grades 9-12) in public, parochial, private, and home schools.
  • The oration must be original of not less than five (5) minutes, nor more than six (6) minutes. The subject shall deal with an event, personality, or document about the Revolutionary War and show a relationship to America today.  The oration must be essentially the same as the submitted manuscript.  Notes and props (including revolutionary war attire) may not be used in the presentation.
  • Before the contestant competes in chapter or regional contest, the contestant’s photograph and biographical sketch are to be provided.
  • Contestants who participate in the contest commit to attending the Texas Society State Convention, if they are selected as the 1st place winner in either the chapter or regional contest. Winners who fail to attend the state convention may forfeit the chapter or regional medal and prize monies previously awarded.
  • At Congress the NSSAR will furnish awards and recognize all orators who participate in the national preliminary and final contests.
  • During the presentation of orations at the chapter, regional, state, or national contests, no applause is permitted until all orators have finished speaking.
  • During the contest, no private videotaping or flash picture taking will be allowed.
  • By action of the 1985 NSSAR Congress, all judges in the Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Scholarship Contest must be members of the SAR.  The judges will select the winners by the following criteria:
            • Composition;
            • Delivery;
            • Significance; and,
            • History.
  • The allocated time for the oration for delivery is between 5 and 6 minutes.  (A penalty will be applied for going outside the time allocations.)
  • Deductions for deviating from the contestant’s prepared manuscript are possible.
  • The contestants must agree that the interpretation of rules and the decisions of the chapter, Texas Society, and NSSAR and its judges shall govern without reservation.  The judging sheets and notes are the property of the SAR.
  • The first-place winner at the national level of the Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest may not compete in its future competitions.
  • The first-place National winner is expected to attend the youth awards luncheon the day after the final competition.
  • Contestants are to send the following to the Chapter by December 15th::
  • Please enter the requested information on the above forms using Adobe Acrobat. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat on your computer, you can download a free version at:
  • Contestants may re-enter the contest each year they are eligible.

     In addition to the above forms, contestants will need to provide a photograph (e.g.: a head shot). A high-resolution digital photograph is preferred, but a printed photograph can be mailed (please have your full name written on the back) to the chapter. Any files you send need to use the following naming convention: “Last Name" “First Name”-“Document Name.” For example: “Doe John-Biographical Sketch.pdf.”

     Please return all of the above forms and documents as soon as possible but before December 31. You do not need to send the completed oration text until two weeks before your presentation. You will be informed of the deadline for the text submission. At that time, you will need to e-mail an MS Word document of your speech.

     Those interested in participating in this contest should complete and return the Contestant Application Form as soon as possible. This allows the chapter to know that you will participate in this contest. It also provides an opportunity for the chapter to offer you additional resources in improving your chances of success in the contest.

     The Paul Carrington Oration Contest winner will receive a medallion, a certificate, and a scholarship check. After that, the winner’s application will be forward for competition in the Texas Society’s contest. The first-place state winner will receive a medallion, a certificate, and a scholarship check for $3,500. The runners-up will receive scholarship checks of: 2nd Place $750, 3rd Place $500, 4th Place $300, 5th and 6th Places $150 each.*

     The Texas Society’s contest winner will advance to the national contest level. The first-place national winner will receive a medallion, a certificate, and a scholarship check for $8,000. The 2nd Place Runner-up receives $5,000, and the 3rd Place Runner-up receives $3,000. Each runner-up also receives a medallion. All other finalists (4th through 6th Place runners-up) are awarded $500, and all other national contestants are awarded $200. So, potentially, a contestant could win $11,800 in scholarship funds for a single oration.*

     Typically, contestants gather on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the Houston area to give their oration to the judges, as well as their family and friends. This usually takes place in late January to early February. We strive to avoid scheduling the contest date with any UIL competitions.

Please be aware that software will be used to check submitted essays for plagiarism and the use of AI.
Any essay that is found to have been plagiarized or to have used A.I. will result in disqualification.

Note: Contestants are eligible to enter more than one contest at a time. The essay required for the Orations Contest can be used in a submission for the Eagle Scout Contest, the TXSSAR CAR Essay Contest, and the Knight Essay Contest.

     For any questions and transmission of all Contest submissions, please e-mail the Paul Carrington Chapter Orations Contest Chair.

*Please note that scholarship amounts may vary each year.

E-mail Communication Requirements: In compliance with the Youth Protection Policy of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, any e-mails initiated from minors to a SAR member must include their parent/guardian in the communication. SAR members will reply to a minor’s e-email but are required to have the minor’s parents/guardian, plus one other SAR chapter member, on the communication.




Paul Carrington Chapter No. 5, Texas Society, Sons of the American Revolution
1415 South Voss Ste 110-425 — Houston, TX 77057-1086

The Paul Carrington Chapter is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting patriotism,
preserving American history, and supporting education for our future generations.

Copyright © 2023 Paul Carrington Chapter  —  Last Modified: Thursday, May 30, 2024


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