Elks National Oratorical Contest

Organization & Scholarship Overview:
An International Elks Oratorical Competition that is conducted annually in the areas of our Elk Lodges & Temples, Districts, State Association, Regions, and Grand Lodge Convention for all High School Juniors & Seniors. The annual Elk’s Oratorical Contests is the pinnacle of Scholarship Programs conducted by the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World (I.B.P.O. Elksof W.), an international, nonprofit, community – based fraternal organization. The organization began in 1898, in excess of 117 years ago, and was born out of a need for neighbors to band together to provide assistance to those less fortunate than themselves. Local winners compete in state contests, and state winners of State Association Contests are guaranteed college scholarships of $1,500. The Regional contests are conducted during June and July in eight (8) Regions and the Winners of the Region’s Contest are guaranteed an additional college scholarship of $1,000.

The National competition winner is awarded an additional $7,500 amounting to a grand total of $10,000 of Guaranteed College Scholarship. Oratorical competitors research the current topic assigned by the Elks Department of Education and develop a speech to demonstrate their comprehension and ability to articulate an informed oral presentation without a script to a live audience and judges. The Department of Education is proud of all its former competitive oratorical winners’ abilities; in fact, some of the nation’s greatest scholars and community leaders have been successful scholarship competitors, namely:

  • Dr. Dorothy I. Height received an Elks scholarship which helped her to attend and graduate from Barnard College in 1929.
  • Thurgood Marshall received an Elks scholarship and attended Howard University School of Law where he graduated first in his class in 1933.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. received an Elks scholarship and attended and graduated from Morehouse College in 1948.
  • Oprah Winfrey received an Elks scholarship and attended Tennessee State University where she graduated in 1973.

Website: Improved Benevolent Protective Order Elks of the World, Inc.
Application Packet & Instructions: Download Here

Contest Eligibility:

  • Open to high school juniors and seniors, who carry either school status by February 1 of the year of the national competition, are eligible to compete in the national competition.
  • Must begin your college or university enrollment within two years of the date of this entitlement.
  • Must complete your college or university studies with a baccalaureate degree within eight years of the date of this entitlement.
  • Provide a copy of the Financial Needs Statement presented to the college in support of my financial aid application.
  • Maintain no less than “C” average for the continuation of the scholarship (failure to remain in “good academic standing” as defined by the institution may be grounds for the withdrawal of the scholarship).

Contest Requirements:

  • Contestants are to research, write, and present an original speech based on one of the five Official Topics for Elks Oratorical Contests-Annual Contest Season-Year 2020 identified by the Grand Lodge Department of Education.
  • Time Limit consideration: the Contestant’s timing begins after completion of the salutation, and upon the first word uttered and stops on the last word.
  • Contestants shall prepare orations not less than eight (8) minutes or no more than ten (10) minutes and must speak on their chosen topic.
  • The speech is an oration; appropriate gestures are allowed. Singing or props are not allowed.
  • Speech content may not be significantly changed as a contestant advances in the contest process. Fine-tuning of speech to make minor amendments or adjustments to time-line is allowed and encouraged.
  • Contestants should utilize current and up-to-date factual information in their speeches.
  • Copyrighted speeches are not permitted and should not be used by contestants in the Elks Oratorical Contest and when discovered the contestant will be consequentially disqualified.

The judges will score contestants in three (3) categories…
(1) Content of Speaker’s Topic; (2) Delivery and Presentation; (3) and Overall Effectiveness

Open to DREAMers: Yes
Renewable: This scholarship award is pro-rated over eight terms (quarters or semesters) and payable to the institution.
Questions? Please email gmayweather.elksdoe@yahoo.com