Our Philadelphia, Our Future – Oratorical Contest

School District of Philadelphia Oratorical Contest 2021

The theme is “My Philadelphia, My Future”

We’re back!
Get your pens, speeches, and spoken words ready! The first annual School District of Philadelphia Oratorical Contest will be held on Feb. 26, 2021. Students, this is your opportunity to showcase your expressive talents for this year’s theme, Our Philadelphia, Our Future!

Submissions are no longer being accepted. Check this website for updates.


~ Three Top Winners Receive Apple iPad Bundle ~
1st Place Winner will perform at 2021 SDP Graduation
– Additional submission prizes include: Book Award and Gift Cards-
* Senior submissions will be entered for a chance to win and SDP Scholarship

What is an oratorical contest?
An oratorical contest is a public speaking competition in which competitors deliver an original speech on a particular topic.

The School District of Philadelphia is hosting an Oratorical Contest that is open to ALL students in grades 9-12 who attend a School District of Philadelphia Public School.

Using the theme, “My Philadelphia, My Future” we encourage students to explore how they envision being an authentic builder/contributor to the future of our city. Students should create an original three-minute speech/poem/spoken word piece.

I’m interested! How do I get started?

  • Read information about the rules and formats for your presentation below.
  • View Frequently Asked Questions and responses HERE.
  • Write a response to the theme, “My Philadelphia, My Future” in your own words, using your creativity.

Oratorical Contest Rules

  • Contestants must speak on the official topic, “My Philadelphia. My Future.”
  • One submission per student.
  • No offensive language allowed.
  • Speech/Presentation is limited to 3 minutes. A point will be deducted for every 30 seconds over the 3-minute limit.
  • If you plan to deliver your presentation in a language other than English, you must notify the committee by November 30th, 2020. An English translation of your presentation must be provided.
  • Contestants must prepare his or her own original speech. Adults can edit, proofread and support. However, content MUST BE the sole submission of the contestant.
  • Copyrighted or quoted material must be verbally identified. Plagiarized submissions will be disqualified.
  • A transcript of the presentation must be available for the judges.
  • Performance may not be sung in its entirety or have musical accompaniment.
  • Performance must be done independently by the contestant who submitted the entry; this is not a group performance.

I’ve written and recorded my three-minute piece. What’s next?

To officially enter, students must complete the entry form (linked below) and submit a video of an original three-minute speech/poem/spoken word piece by December 31, 2020. The original three-minute speech/poem/spoken word piece must be aligned to the theme, “My Philadelphia, My Future.”

Judges will review entry forms and videos and the winners will perform at “Our Class – Our Future,” formerly known as “College Signing Day.”  A top prize will be awarded!


Applications accepted through December 31, 2020

Semi-Finals  January 22-29, 2021



Downloadable Information


Still have questions?:  Email  oratoricalcontest@philasd.org