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Rumbaugh Oration Contest

The Joseph S. Rumbaugh
Historical Oration Contest

The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest will be conducted at the Chapter, State and National levels. The contest is open to all students of the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes (Grades 9 - 12) in the public, parochial, private and home schools within the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Society SAR.  The student must present an original speech with the topic based on original research and deal with an event, person, philosophy or ideal associated with the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, or the framing of the United States Constitution as defined by the SAR for each year.

The Oration

The oration is to be five to six minutes in length and should be based on a compelling Revolutionary War subject that is directly related to current national issues and patriotism.  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

The oration must be given from memory, without the use of notes or props.  The subject of the oration shall deal with an event, a personality, or a document pertaining to the Revolutionary War.  Successful candidates will clearly communicate the relevance of their subject to the present day.

The National Society (NSSAR) Contest

The NSSAR offers scholarships or cash awards for the top winners:

·        The National First Place Winner receives $5,000

·        The 2nd Place Runner-up receives $3,000

·        The 3rd Place Runner-up receives $2,000.

·        Each also receives an Olympic-sized medal.

·        All other finalists (4th through 6th Place runners-up) are awarded $400 cash.

·        All other national contestants receive $200 cash.

The National Society Contest will be held during the 2019 SAR National Congress to be held in Costa Mesa, California from 5-10 July 2019.

Pennsylvania Society (PASSAR) Contest

There are 23 active SAR chapters in Pennsylvania.  Participants in the PASSAR competition will be made up of the winning contestants from participating chapters plus applicants who are the single applicant from a chapter, thus no competition is called for.

The winner of the PASSAR contest will receive a silver medallion, a $500 cash award, and will qualify to participate at the NSSAR contest.  PASSAR will reimburse up to $3,000 in travel expenses for the applicant and one parent to attend the national competition in Costa Mesa.  Second- and third-place awards have been set at $200 and $100.

The PASSAR Contest is scheduled to be held in the Harrisburg Area on Saturday, 27 April 2019.

Local Chapter Contests

Local chapters are currently considering their involvement in the Rumbaugh Oration Contest.  You can locate your local chapter by going to the PASSAR Chapters page.  

The local contests will be run like the NSSAR contest, adjusting as appropriate for the number of participants.  The winners of chapter contests will receive a bronze medallion and will qualify to compete at the PASSAR contest.  Cash awards are at the discretion of the chapters.

Chapter contests will be held on or about Saturday, 30 March 2019.


Submissions are due on or before midnight on Saturday, 9 March 2019 (in-hand or postmark), and will include:

·         Contestant Entry Form * (p. 1)

·         Biographical Sketch * (p. 2)

·         Copy of Contestant’s Oration

·         Photograph (a snapshot will work)

·         Youth Contest Release Form *

* You can obtain these forms by clicking on the links above.

Calendar for 2019 Activities

     Feb/Mar -   Chapter Contests to select applicants for PA State Competition

     April 6 -       Chapter Winners due to Bill Baker, PASSAR Rumbaugh Coordinator

     April 27 -     SAR Pennsylvania Contest in Harrisburg

     July 5-10 -   SAR National Congress in Costa Mesa, CA

For PASSAR Compatriots:

Helpful Suggestions for locating viable Contestants:

·        Contact local school Speech Teachers and Debate Team Coaches directly as well as other community and educational sources.

·        Focus on target High Schools in your Chapter’s area.  Please see the attached FILE.

·        Local DAR or newspapers may have contacts that will aid you in acquiring contestants.


Where a chapter has two or three applicants, we will look for opportunities to combine your competition with another chapter to be more efficient in using Judges.  Each chapter would still need to identify their chapter’s winner.



For further information and assistance for Pennsylvania applicants, please contact the PASSAR Rumbaugh Oration coordinator:


Bill Baker

(248) 701-5267 – cell phone




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