Public Speaking Contest

Next Theodore Roosevelt Public Speaking Contest in 2013!

Theodore Roosevelt Public Speaking Contest

Commemorating the Life and Legacy of America's 26th President

Held every two years

Open to all High School students (grades 9-12)

in Western New York.

Focus on Theodore Roosevelt's presidency, and his impact on Americans today.

Five (5) minute time limitation for speeches

Judging based on originality, accuracy and presentation

For the Resource Material Guide, click here.

Questions? Contact:

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site

641 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo, New York 14202


Sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site



The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site is pleased to announce the return of an exciting project for high school students - the Theodore Roosevelt Public Speaking Contest. This biennial event has previously been held in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011 for area students. Students are challenged to develop, organize and communicate ideas relating to the life and career of President Theodore Roosevelt using critical thinking, independent research and proper speech.

The contest offers the following incentives:

  • Development of oral communications, research and interdisciplinary skills necessary for civic leadership, social awareness and success in business and professional endeavors.
  • A better understanding of issues and events in local and national history.
  • Cash prizes as follows: First Place - $1,000; Second Place - $500; Third Place - $250

To receive an entry form, click here. For a copy of the Resource Material Package, please click here, or call the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site at 716-884-0095.


The Theodore Roosevelt Public Speaking Contest is sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site to encourage students in the development of public speaking skills. These include developing, organizing and communicating ideas, critical thinking, independent research; proper speech; and an understanding of the interrelationship of various disciplines. Public speaking skills enable students to expand academic potential, promote scholarship, and build confidence, self-reliance, social awareness and leadership ability, which will help them to achieve success in the business and professional world.


The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site was created by an act of Congress on November 2, 1966. Opened to the public in 1971, the Site is an historic house museum commemorating the September 14, 1901 inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt as twenty-sixth President of the United States in the home of Ansley Wilcox. The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site offers educational programs for grades pre-K through twelve.


Students in all public, private, parochial and charter schools in Western new York are eligible to participate, as well as home-schooled students residing within the region. Each participating high school or home-school association may select one or two contestants by whatever method school administration considers most appropriate. Since preparation is the key to success, schools are urged to make their selection and commence coaching and preparation as soon as possible.

Unless the TR Inaugural Site is notified by the school principal of a formal selection process to select contestants, registration will be taken by the TR Site on a first-come, first-served basis.

Schools are also encouraged to have their participating students present their speeches in school assemblies and classes so that the knowledge and themes they have researched and developed will be shared with a broad group of students.


Every high school is encouraged to be represented in the contest. Please submit an entry form which includes the name of both the contestant and the coach. To receive an entry form, please click here or call the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site at 716-884-0095. Submit forms to:

Mark Lozo

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

641 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo, NY 14202



All registrations must be received by the TR Inaugural Site by February 23, 2013


April 23-24, 2013


April 28, 2013

Schools will be assigned a specific session for the semi-finals. Coaches and contestants will receive the date and time for their particular schools.

The semi-finals and finals will be held in Buffalo, NY at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY.


  • Each participant will receive a Certificate of Achievement.
  • First prize winner will be awarded a cash prize of $1,000.
  • The First Prize Winner will also receive a commemorative bust of Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Second prize winner will be awarded $500.
  • Third prize winner will be awarded $250.


  1. Speeches must be original. However, consultation with teachers, coaches or other resource persons is encouraged.
  2. Speeches must be memorized. They may not be read from a manuscript or cards, nor may notes of any kind be used
  3. Speeches must be approximately five (5) minutes in duration. A 30-second grace period will be allowed, but speeches shorter than 4 ½ minutes or longer than 5 ½ minutes will be disqualified
  4. Costumes and props of any kind are NOT permitted.
  5. Speakers are not permitted to leave the stage during their presentations.
  6. Previous First Prize Winners are not eligible to reenter.
  7. The topic of presentations is to be as follows:

At the time of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency, the nation was undergoing great changes, and as a result faced numerous challenges, including

  • The growth of big business, which created prosperity for some but often abused its power.
  • Workers who were faced with difficult and unsafe working conditions while earning low wages.
  • Crushing poverty , overcrowding, and unsanitary conditions which faced many who were living in the cities.
  • Massive waves of immigration which were changing the nation's social fabric with their new traditions, and adding to urban poverty and overcrowding.
  • Social inequalities which undermined the American ideal of success to anyone who worked hard. In actuality many people found barriers prevented them from achieving this promise. African-Americans, women, Asians, and Native Americans, among others, felt left out of the American dream.
  • The debate between use and preservation of natural resources raged between those advocating their unlimited use to provide wealth and prosperity to the nation, while others felt nature should be conserved for future generations.
  • America struggled to define what its appropriate role on the global stage should be as it broke away from a tradition of isolationism.

Speakers are to discuss Theodore Roosevelt's era, his beliefs, or his presidential record in regard to one or more of these issues, and address how this relates to the nation today, or to their own lives or beliefs.

  • Thorough research and accurate details are expected to support the speaker's position.
  • The speaker must address at least one of the listed topic areas as it relates to TR's time, his beliefs, or his presidency.
  • Speakers must also express the implications of this issue for the nation today, or how it affects them personally.
  • A presentation may be disqualified if it does not address the chosen issue(s) relative to both TR's era and today.


The finalists and winners will be selected by a panel of judges composed of educators, community leaders and representatives of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.

Criteria will be weighted in the following order of importance: accuracy of facts, demonstrated mastery of topic, effective communication of ideas, proper use of voice and articulation, and originality.


The Resource Material Package is specifically designed to assist contestants in their preparation. It includes a study guide, bibliography and other pertinent materials on Theodore Roosevelt. To receive a copy of the Resource Material Package, please click below, or call the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site at 884-0095.

If you have any questions regarding the contest, please call Mark Lozo, Education Director, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site at 716-884-0095.

Link to Resource Material Packet

Link to entry form

Last updated: February 26, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
641 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo, NY 14202


(716) 884-0095

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