The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Orations Contest

The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Orations contest, open to all students in grades 9-12, supports the Secondary School and SAR education objectives by perpetuating the stories of patriotism, courage, tragedy, and triumph of the men and women who achieved the independence of the American people. These stories are universal ones of man’s eternal struggle against tyranny, relevant to all time, and will inspire and strengthen each generation as it is called upon to defend our freedoms on the battlefield and in our public institutions.

North Carolina SAR is pleased to be an active supporter of this national program.  Chapter members are the primary drivers in stimulating students to participate. They work through teachers of all subjects in the school system and the Home School Associations. The contest culminates in an inspiring National Orations Contest at the SAR National Congress. The competition has been held annually since 1947, and is named for SAR Compatriot Joseph S. Rumbaugh, a major benefactor; the medal features the image of Dr. Joseph Warren, a gifted Patriot Orator, who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775.

Contest Rules

Timothy Hisler, Home Schooled Senior from Raleigh, 2024 North Carolina SAR Oratory Winner

The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Orations Contest is open to all students attending home schools, public, parochial, or private high schools in North Carolina, who are in their freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior year of study during the contest year (Grades 9 – 12).

Participants must write an original oration of not less than five minutes, or more than six minutes. The oration must be delivered from memory and without the use of notes or any kind of props. The subject of the oration shall deal with an event, a personality, or a document pertaining to the Revolutionary War with a mention of 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.

North Carolina Information

Aliza Jankowsky, 2023 North Carolina SAR Oratory Winner and 3rd Place National Award Winner

North Carolina SAR actively seeks and welcomes high school students to enter the Rumbaugh Oratory contest through a participating Chapter. Typically, the annual Entry Deadline is January 31, with competition completed by mid-March.

Chapter 1st Place winners will receive a bronze medallion, a certificate, and will compete in the State Contest; all other contestants will receive recognition certificates.  Chapter Cash Awards are determined by the Chapter.

Competition at the Chapter Level is followed by the State Contest.  The 1st Place winner will receive $750, a silver medallion, and will compete in the National Contest;  2nd Place a $250 award, and 3rd Place a $100 award.  Three recent NC winners have placed at the National Competition, each earning $4,000.

Key Dates

    • Local Chapters may sponsor a Rumbaugh Oratory Competition to be completed by mid-March
    • A State Contest will be held in March
    • The State Winner will present their Oration at the North Carolina SAR Annual Meeting held in early April
    • The State Winner will compete in the National Contest via a video submitted in April, and will receive financial support to compete at the SAR National Congress, if selected as a finalist
    • The SAR National Congress is held in early July

Note: Specific Dates vary each year

Inquiries for additional information or requests for entry forms may be directed to the State Chairman:

Lowell Hoffman
(919) 656-9955