oratory Logo

Project Mission 

To encourage students from around the First Coast to research, prepare and present a logical and convincing oral argument that demonstrates their knowledge of a chosen topic and to reward those students with college scholarships.

Rotary Oratory Competition 

The Rotary Oratory Competition is a project initiated by the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville in 2015. Each year the Club’s speech committee approaches the principals and speech teachers of the 45 public and private schools on the First Coast (Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties) to choose a high school senior who would like to represent their school in an oratory competition. Each year the speech committee determines what speech topic to offer the high school seniors. The topics are meant to be current, meaningful and thought provoking. We do not allow topics to be of a personal or political nature.  The students have approximately two months to research, write and prepare their presentation. The candidates are assigned geographically to a nearby Rotary Club, where they will first compete in a “regional” contest. Those who win their regional will continue on to compete for a first place college scholarship and a runner up college scholarship in a special final competition.

2017-2018 Oratory Competition 

This year, we anticipate that 45 First Coast high school seniors (representing the 45 local high schools) will participate in the regional competitions in January 2018.   The topic for this year’s competition is:

Technological advancement seems to touch every aspect of life.

Rotary’s key principles include fostering economic stability while building goodwill and better friendships in our own community and around the world.

Discuss whether technology has enhanced or detracted from the ability to advance these key principles for people in our own community and around the world.  Provide research and examples to support your positions. Highlight how Rotary could help further such efforts at home and across the globe.

Rotary Clubs participating in the project with Southside Rotary include the Rotary Club of Fernandina, the Rotary Club of Orange Park, the Rotary Club of St. Augustine, the Rotary Club of West Jacksonville and the Rotary Club of Jacksonville.

The final competition will be held at the studios of WJCT (PBS) on Thursday, February 15th.  The event will be recorded and broadcast on WJCT.  For more information, please contact Stephen Madden at Stephen.Madden@td.com.

Participation Requirements 

In order to qualify for the 2017-18 South Jacksonville Rotary Oratory Competition, each participant must agree to abide by the following guidelines.

  • The participant must be a high school senior from one of the First Coast schools;
  • Each participant must go through the competition round process as outlined by the South Jacksonville Rotary Oratory Competition Committee;
  • The participant must prepare a speech according to the theme chosen by The South Jacksonville Rotary Oratory Competition Committee (no political agendas will be allowed);
  • The speech must be written and presented by the participating student only;
  • The speech must be no longer than 5 minutes;
  • A written copy of the speech must be submitted (emailed) to the school advisor and The South Jacksonville Rotary Oratory Committee one week prior to the first speech given;
  • Every participant must agree to allow The South Jacksonville Rotary Oratory Committee and its affiliates to use and publish the speeches for any potential promotional means;

Application 

To get started, download, complete and submit the Oratory Application.  

Competition History 

The speech project on a First Coast level has been conducted for 3 years, beginning in 2015. The results for those 3 years include are

Total of monies awarded to students - $35,800

Total number of student participants - 78

The competition finals are held each year at the University of North Florida with approximately 200 people in attendance.  Last year, TV Anchor Mary Baer and 1010XL Radio personality Jack O'Brien entertained our audience of around 200 with their emcee talents. 

News coverage – Articles have appeared in the Times Union, the Fernandina News Leader, Clay Today and the St. Augustine Record; on numerous Internet and social media sites; an interview on WJXT’s The Morning Show; and on billboards throughout Duval county.

Speech Topics - Each year the speech committee determines what speech topic to offer the high school seniors. The topics are meant to be current, meaningful and thought provoking. We do not allow topics to be of a personal or political nature.

2017 Topic -Rotary International has identified six areas of focus to maximize local and global impact of Rotary Projects; they are PROMOTING PEACE, FIGHTING DISEASE, PROVIDING CLEAN WATER, SAVING MOTHERS AND CHILDREN, SUPPORTING EDUATION, and GROWING LOCAL ECONOMIES. If you had to pick one of these areas for Rotary to concentrate a project effort, what would it be and why?

2017 Speech Winners - Madison Moore of Yulee High School, the runner up, Maria Ribeiro of University Christian School.

2016 Topic - What can Jacksonville and the First Coast community do to gain recognized greatness nationally and internationally using in your argument, some or all of the following discussion categories: finance, education, medical, transportation and public service.

2016 Speech Winners - Stevin Smith of Paxon School for Advanced Studies, the runner up, Nathan Veatch of St. Augustine High School.

2015 Topic - Explain what Financial Literacy is and how it will help everyone personally in their understanding of business, government and world affairs.

2015 Speech Winners - Jolene Stubbings of West Nassau High School, the runner up, Abby Murphy of Creekside High School.

Sponsorship Opportunities 

The main and most obvious reason to partner with Rotary on this speech project is to help provide college funds for our area high school seniors. By investing in them, we are investing in our future. One of those students receiving these funds could be the next research scientist to discover a cure for cancer, the next one to land on Mars, or the next Boston Symphony conductor. The opportunities and potential are unlimited. And so should be our support.

The second reason is the marketing aspect for a company or an individual. This is a growing event and a great opportunity to connect your name to an education cause that has traction throughout Northeast Florida. From having your company’s name listed with the event name in all news and social media releases to speaking at each Rotary regional competition to presenting the winner’s scholarship award, the marketing potential for your company is unlimited.

If you need additional information or if you would prefer to have a representative from our club meet with you, please contact us at Rotaryexecsec@aol.com. Otherwise, you can submit a check made out to the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville Charities, Inc. at P.O. Box 47546, Jacksonville, Florida 32247.

Thank you for your tax deductible donation consideration.

Rotary Oratory Competition $10,000 - Title Co-Sponsorship

Only Two Title Sponsors Allowed - Exclusive To Your Industry Category

Sponsorship Benefits: 

Listed with all mentions during the project:

“The Rotary Oratory Competition Presented By _________”

(Could be one or two title sponsors)

 Printed in letterhead of The Oratory Newsletter

  • Included in Rotary Newsletters
  • Signage at Rotary Club meetings during the duration of the project
  • Printed on competition programs
  • Signage at the Final Event
  • Listed in all news releases
  • Listed in all social media broadcasts
  • Opportunity to speak at all regional competition events
  • On the agenda for the final event
  • Opportunity to participate in one of the largest academic events on the First Coast
  • Exposure to the entire First Coast Educational Community (5 counties) including all high schools and school districts
  • Exposure to the members of Rotary Clubs throughout Northeast Florida
  • Exposure throughout the project through the media covering the various regional competitions
  • First option to be Title Sponsor next year

Rotary Oratory Competition $3,000 - Regional Sponsor

Project Mission: To encourage students all around the First Coast to research, prepare and present a logical and convincing oral argument that demonstrates their knowledge of a chosen topic and to reward those students with college scholarships.  

 Sponsorship Benefits:

 Mentions in The Oratory Newsletter

  • Mentions in Rotary Newsletters
  • Signage at Rotary Club meetings during the duration of the project
  • Signage at final event
  • Printed on competition programs
  • Included in all social media broadcasts
  • Included in media releases
  • The sponsor will have opportunity to speak at the regional competition
  • Exposure to the entire First Coast Educational Community (5 counties) including all high schools and school districts
  • Exposure to the members of Rotary Clubs throughout Northeast Florida

Make check payable to Rotary Club of South Jacksonville Charities, Inc.; P.O. Box 47546; Jacksonville, FL 32247. Funds will be used for scholarships, charity donations and related costs. For more information, contact Rotary project chair Stephen Madden at Stephen.Madden@td.com.

The Rotary Club of South Jacksonville Charities, Inc., Registration #CH27610, is registered with the state under the solicitation of Contributions Act, 1991. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll free 1.800.435.7253 within the state.  Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.

The Rotary Club of South Jacksonville Charities, Inc. is a non-profit corporation under 501(c)(3), EIN 59-3750282. 

2018 Oratory Competition

Contest Summary

Click on above link to learn more!
Up to a $5000 scholarship. Competition begins January 2018

** Apply Now **

2018 Oratory Competition Sponsors
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