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The 2021

Langston Hughes

You​th Oratorical 


Congratulations to our 2021 Langston Hughes Youth Oratorical Contestants! 

The Virtual Competition Held on

Saturday, February 6, 2021

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

The Langston Hughes Youth Oratorical Contest

Contestant Categories

Middle School: Grades 6-8

High School: Grades 9-12


Contestants are required to deliver a

4 to 5 minute speech on the theme,

"What happens to a dream deferred..."


12 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.

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

4th place in the high school category;

(high school only) $150

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

➢Contestants must be either a high school, junior high, or middle school student, grades 6th -12th,

 ➢Homeschooled children are eligible. 

➢ Contestants must be a Harford County resident.

➢  Contestants must show a valid school ID or proof of age.

➢  Contestants must speak on the official topic, “What happens to a dream deferred…”

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 in length.

➢  A contestant will be penalized if the speech is timed to be under 4 minutes or over 5 minutes. The penalty will be one point for every 15 seconds or a 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 are not authorized.


  • 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 every 15 seconds or a 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.