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Langston Hughes
Youth Oratorical 


Join us for the 2024 Langston Hughes
Youth Oratorical Contest!

Experience the brilliance of Harford County's finest students as they deliver powerful original speeches on the theme, "As I live...I learn." 
Don't miss this showcase of amazing talent.

Date:​  February 3, 2024 (Saturday)
Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
(Doors open at noon 
and the contest will start promptly at 1 p.m.) 
Venue:​ The Cultural Center at the Opera House
              121 N. Union Avenue, Havre de Grace, Maryland 21078


Seating is limited - Reserve your seat now for this inspiring event!

Mrs. Mabel Hart
Class of 1936

This year, scholarships will be awarded in honor of Mrs. Mabel Hart, a distinguished graduate of the Havre de Grace Colored School, in celebration of her remarkable 105th birthday. Mrs. Hart, with over 42 years of teaching experience, is fondly remembered by her students even after retirement. The scholarships are proudly dedicated in recognition of her enduring impact on education.

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Contestant Information


Date and Time: Saturday, January 20, 2024, at 1:00 p.m.

Location: Havre de Grace Colored School Museum and Cultural Center, Inc.,

555 Alliance Street, Havre de Grace, MD 21078

(Virtual coaching sessions will be held with individual students upon request.)



(Harford County Middle and High School Students Only)

1st place:

$500 each

2nd place:

$300 each

3rd place:

$200 each

Top 10 runners up:

 $100 each

Scholarships are payable to the student. All contestants must be present to receive their award.

(Scholarships are awarded by a sponsor.  No donations or grants are used to fund the awards.)



Contestants must be a Harford County resident.

Contestants must be in grades 6 through 12, including homeschooled students.

Contestants must provide a valid school ID or proof of age.



Contestants must deliver a speech related to the official theme, "As I live I learn..." and include the phrase at least once.

Speeches should be inspirational, with no politics or offensive language.

Speeches must be between 4 and 5 minutes in length.

Penalty of one point for speeches under 4 minutes or over 5 minutes.


No props, costumes, clothing, or prompters are allowed.

Speeches must be delivered in English.

Copyrighted or quoted material must be verbally identified.

Contestants must prepare their own speeches.

No usage or reading from notes during the presentation.



Failure to use the official topic results in a deduction of 3 points.

Failure to identify non-original material leads to disqualification.

Use of props, costumes, or prompters results in disqualification.

Time penalties of 1 point for every 15 seconds over or under the allotted time.



Poise, appearance, and personality: 20 points.

Content of speech, including subject adherence, theme, content, and logic: 35 points.

Delivery and presentation, including voice, volume, pronunciation, gestures, eye contact, sincerity, and emphasis: 35 points.

Overall effectiveness, including appeal, impression, attitude, and effect: 10 points.

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