Participants shall be citizens of or lawful permanent residents of the United States. Contestants must be bona fide students, under the age of 20, and presently enrolled in high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or home school) in which the curriculum is considered to be of high school level between grade 9 and 12. Contestants must either be legally domiciled within or attend an educational institution within the Department (State) where they enter competition. Contestants can enter competition in only one Department (State).


The Contestant Registration Form # 1 must be filled out and signed by the contestant, the principal of the high school, or the parent or guardian of the home schooler. Both the Prepared Oration and Contestant Registration Form # 1 must be submitted to the County Chairman no later than November 18, 2016.


County contests will be held between November 26, 2016 and January 8, 2017. Please contact your County Chairman to find out the date of your contest. District contests are held between January 13, 2017 and January 29, 2017, and Zone contests are held between February 4, 2017 and February 12, 2017. The dates of each level of competition are determined by the respective chairmen. They will contact you once they have received your Contest Registration Form # 1 and you’re Prepared Oration. The Department (State) Finals will be held on March 11, 2017, at 10:00 AM, at the Sand Creek Middle School, Albany, New York. All Contestants and Chaperones must be in Albany by 4:00 PM March 10, 2017. In case of cancellation due to inclement weather, it will be held on March 18, 2017 at the same place and time, and would have to be in Albany by 4:00 PM on March 17, 2017.
The National Finals is are April 22 and 23, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. All contestants must be at the contest site on April 21, 2017. The National Organization will bear the expenses for the contestant and their chaperone. See www.legion.org for additional information.


New York is broken down into four levels of competition, County, District, Zone, and Department (State) Final. Each school may enter three (3) contestants in the County Contest. Preliminary County Contest maybe run if too many contestants enter prior to the County Final. Each District will structure their contest to conform to the number of contestants that have applied to compete in the County contests, and how many will advance into the District contest or contests. No County or District will have more than six contestants in any preliminary or final contests without the consent of the Department of New York Chairman. The District Chairman will report the first and second place winners to the Zone Chairman. Two contestants from the District contest will continue on to the Zone contest, and then one contestant will go on to the Department (State) Final. There will be five contestants in the Department (State) Final of which one will go on to the National Finals.