Level 1 Local School Speech Contest​ ​

Contest Rules

The following conditions must be met for the Modern Woodmen of America Level 1 Local School Speech Contest: 

Contest Eligibility

  • The Level 1 Local School Speech Contest is available to students in grades five through twelve.
  • A minimum of 10 students within a school must compete in a Level 1 Local Contest.

Judging the Contest


  • The subject matter should reflect a student's own thoughts and words, and be based on the current year's School Speech Contest topic. To view this year's topic, please click hereStudents can use the topic-related questions to help formulate ideas, but they are not limited by the list.

 Using Notes

  • Notes may be used unless otherwise determined by the contest organizer and/or participating schools.
  • Your school must notify students at least two weeks prior to the contest if notes may not be used.
  • The judges must be informed before the contest begins if the students can/cannot use notes.
  • If notes are not permitted, 20 penalty points will be deducted for using notes. A student holding notes is considered to be using notes.

 Costumes, Visual Aids and Props

  • Costumes, visual aids and props are not permitted at any level of the contest. 
  • If costumes, visual aids or props are used, 50 penalty points will be deducted. A student may not be disqualified for using costumes, visual aids or props; only penalty points may be applied. The determination of what is considered a costume, visual aid or prop is left to the discretion of the judges. 

 Length of Speech

  • The speech must be delivered live and in person. The length of the speech is to be no less than three minutes and no more than five minutes.  A timer should be appointed by the contest organizer. Modern Woodmen's Timing Sheet should be used at the contest.
  • Penalty points will be deducted if the speech is over or under the time limit. Penalty points are as follows:
    • Under three minutes - 5 points.
    • Over five minutes, but less than six minutes - 5 points.
    • Six minutes and over - 10 points.
  • A student may not be disqualified for delivering a speech that is over or under the time limit; only penalty points may be applied.
  • Before the contest begins, please announce that no prompting from the audience is allowed. Prompting is defined as a cue, help or suggestion that reminds a speaker of what comes next or what has been forgotten. 


  • Please announce to the audience that photography/videography or any other form of recording is not allowed during the contest.
 Avoiding Partiality
  • Participants should draw for their position in the program just prior to the beginning of the contest. This will eliminate any appearance of partiality. During the contest, the contestants should be referred to by number (Contestant No. 1, Contestant No. 2, etc.).
  • Applause should be held until the last speaker has finished to avoid distracting or influencing the judges while they complete the Judges' Rating Sheets.

Protest Procedure 

  • Any protest in the procedure of the speech contest must be made immediately in writing and handed to the contest organizer after the condition is noted which brings about the protest, but only after the student currently speaking has completed his or her speech. Protests received after the next contestant begins, or after the judges have retired for final deliberation, will not be considered under any circumstances. The contest organizer and the judges will decide all protests in conformity with Modern Woodmen's School Speech Contest rules. The mutual decision of the contest organizer and the judges is the final word, and no higher appeals will be recognized.

After the Contest

  • Once the winners have been announced, destroy the completed Judges' Rating Sheets to ensure confidentiality.