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2019 Chicago Campus Student Oratorical Contest

Created: January 7, 2019
MLK Student Oratorical Contest

The Pritzker School of Law is hosting a student oratorical contest as part of its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration celebration on Monday, January 28, 2019. This contest is open to all students who are currently enrolled in a program on the Chicago campus of Northwestern University. Please see below for details.

Eligibility
The competition is open to all students currently enrolled in a program on the Chicago campus of Northwestern University, including the Feinberg School of Medicine, The Graduate School, the Kellogg School of Management, the Pritzker School of Law, the School of Professional Studies, and Allied Health Programs.

All contestants must be available to participate in the Oral Advocacy Competition on Friday, January 25, 2019 and the Chicago campus’s MLK commemoration keynote event on Monday, January 28, 2019. Both events will take place at the Pritzker School of Law from 12:00-1:00 PM.

Application
Submissions should be sent to diversity@law.northwestern.edu no later than 12:00 PM on Monday, January 21, 2019 and must meet all criteria outlined below. For questions, contact diversity@law.northwestern.edu.

Prizes
The winner will receive a $500 stipend, the second place finisher will receive a $250 stipend, and the third place finisher will receive a $150 stipend.

Competition Structure
All submissions will be reviewed by the committee and finalists will be invited to participate in the Oral Advocacy Competition. The Oral Advocacy Competition will be held on January 25, 2019 from 12:00-1:00 PM at the Pritzker School of Law, Rubloff Building 150. Judges will score the contestants on their oral presentation and essay. Audience members also will have an opportunity to vote on the oral presentations. The winner of the audience vote will have five (5) points added to their score. The second place winner of the audience vote will receive an additional three (3) points, and the third place winner of the audience vote will receive an additional one (1) point. The competition winner will recite their oration at the Chicago campus MLK commemoration keynote event on January 28, 2019.

Essay Topic
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." –Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • What do you believe King meant by the statement above?
  • What does this statement mean to you as a graduate or professional student at Northwestern University now, particularly in the context of today's society?

Essay Format

  1. The essay should be no longer than 1,000 words.
  2. The type font must be Times New Roman, 12 point, double-spaced.
  3. The margins must be 1" and text must be fully justified.
  4. The essay must be sent electronically in a MS Word document format to diversity@law.northwestern.edu.

General Competition Rules

Assessment of Essays: Essays will be evaluated according to six categories: (a) quality, (b) content, (c) persuasiveness, (d) style, (e) organization, and (f) creativity. The maximum number of points each contestant may receive per category is five points for their essay and five points for their oral presentation, for a maximum total of 30 points for the entire essay and 30 points for the entire oral presentation.

The Essay Question: The speaker must incorporate the topic and/or answer the essay question. It should not be recited verbatim. Failure to incorporate the topic and/or answer the essay question will result in points being deducted.

Scoring:

  • 0 - the essay does not express any element of the criterion
  • 1 - the essay marginally expresses this criterion
  • 2 - the essay adequately expresses this criterion
  • 3 - the essay competently expresses this criterion
  • 4 - the essay adeptly captures the criterion  
  • 5 - the essay masterly expresses this criterion 

Props: The speaker is prohibited from using props. Any use of props will result in points being deducted; however, the speaker may use notes.

Timing: The oral presentation must be a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of five minutes. An oral presentation outside of this timeframe will result in points being deducted.

Assessment of Oral Presentations: Oral presentations will be evaluated according to six categories: (a) quality, (b) content, (c) persuasiveness, (d) style, (e) organization, and (f) creativity. The maximum number of points each competitor may receive per category is five points for a maximum total of 30 points for the entire oral presentation.

Quality: Well-prepared arguments that are clear and makes the presentation interesting.

Content: The body of the presentation is complete: it includes all information needed to persuade listeners of the validity of the argument. This argument and its claims are well supported by the appropriate data.

Persuasiveness: The presenter speaks clearly, loudly, and at an effective pace and advocates for the presenter's position; and the presenter speaks with the naturalness that enables the presenter to vary tone, pitch, and emphasis and to use their voice to emphasize important language and ideas. Verbal distractions - mispronunciation, filler sounds and words (“ums,” “uhs,” “okays,” and “you knows”) are minimal or non-existent.

Style: Good eye contact enables the presenter to connect with the audience. Gestures are natural, appropriate, and confident and underscore the presenter's message. Presenter keeps to the time limit and spends appropriate amounts of time on individual arguments. Each presentation must be a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of five minutes. A presentation outside of this timeframe is required to have points being deducted.

Organization: The presentation is structured to aid the listener’s retention: it provides a brief overview of what will be covered in the introduction; foreshadows what’s coming next; uses bridging between chunks of the talk; uses backtracking to review what's been covered; and closes by summarizing the main points.

Creativity: Uses unusual phrases, quotes or analogies to make arguments more persuasive.

Scoring: Scoring is the same as the essay portion.

Judging: The final contest will be judged by a minimum of three judges. The same judges will review contestants' essays and their oral presentation. Judges will render their final decisions independently of one another and without consulting with other individuals. The decision of the judges as certified by the tabulators is final.

Tabulators: Tabulators will be responsible for reviewing the judges’ score cards to be certain they are fully tabulated and signed before being submitted for final tabulation. The scorecards will not be revealed to anyone at the site of the contest.

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