The 2020

Langston Hughes

You​th Oratorical 


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The Theme: “I dream a world..."

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The Langston Hughes Youth Oratorical Contest provides Harford County Students an opportunity to obtain a scolarship while demonstrating their speaking, writing and oratory skills. Students must develop a 4 to 5 minute speech using the theme,

"I dream a world..“

The Event is Free to the Public 

Saturday, February 1, 2020

from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The Cultural Center at the Opera House

121 N. Union Avenue

Havre de Grace, MD 21078 

The Langston Hughes Youth Oratorical Contest

The Colored School Foundation is pleased to announce the

2020 Langston Hughes Youth Oratorical Contest. The contest provides a wonderful forum for

students to develop their speaking, writing and oratory skills while also developing poise

and confidence in an important life skill of public speaking.

Contestant Categories

Middle School: Grades 6-8

High School: Grades 9-12


Contestants are required to deliver a

4 to 5 minute speech around the theme,

"I dream a world...“


16 contestants will receive an award.

The top six (three middle and three high school students) will be required to

present their speeches on the day of the event and compete for the scholarship by category.

Practice Session Date (optional)


January 25, 2020, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Havre de Grace Colored School

555 Alliance Street

Havre de Grace, Md 21078

Award Categories

1st place in each category:

(middle and high school contestants) $500 each

2nd place in each category:

(middle and high school contestants) $300 each

3d place in each category:

(middle and high school contestants) $200 each

The top 10 runners up:

(5 middle and 5 high school contestants) $100 each

Scholarships are payable to the student.

All contestants must be present the day of the event to receive their award.

(No charitable donations or grants are used to fund these scholarships.)

Official Contest Rules and Criteria

  • Each contestant must complete and submit the official application and a video of their speech no later than Sunday, December 29, 2019. At that time, 16 contestants will be selected.
  •  Contestants must be either a high school, junior high or middle school student, grades 6-12. Home schooled students are eligible.
  • Contestants must be Harford County residents.
  • Contestants must show valid school ID or proof of age (birth certificate or passport are acceptable).
  • Contestants must speak on the official topic, “I continue to dream..." and use it in their speech at least once.
  • Speeches should be inspirational. No politics or offensive language allowed.
  • Speeches must be at least 4 minutes but not over 5 minutes.
  • A contestant will be penalized if the speech is timed to be under 4 minutes or over 5 minutes in length. The penalty will be one point for each 15 seconds, or fraction of over or under the allotted time. This penalty will be determined by the official timekeeper.
  • Props, special costumes/clothing or prompters are not permitted.
  • Speeches must be delivered in English.
  • Copyrighted or quoted material must be verbally identified.
  • Contestants must prepare his or her own speech.
  • Notes cannot be used.


  • Failure to use the official topic - 3 points
  • Failure to identify non-original material – disqualification
  • Use of props, special costumes/clothing or prompters – disqualification
  • Time penalties – 1 point for each 15 seconds or fraction of over or under the allotted time.

Scoring Criteria

  • Poise – appearance and personality: 20 points
  • Content of Speech – subject adherence, theme, content and logic: 35 points
  • Delivery & Presentation – voice, volume, pronunciation, gestures, eye contact, sincerity and emphasis: 35 points
  • Overall Effectiveness – appeal, impression, attitude and effect: 10 points.