Purpose of Original Oratory
Original Oratory, also known as merely Oratory or “OO,” is an individual event where the student writes, memorizes, and then delivers a speech arising from her/his personal feelings, convictions, or a source of concern. The student may compose the address on any subject they choose, but the student MUST write the composition. In Georgia, the GFCA requires that the speech be persuasive, meaning the statement should influence, convince, motivate, preach or stimulate an action. An original oratory might also be informative (designed to explain, instruct, define, clarify, or teach) or evocative (entertains, inspires, or helps listeners to celebrate, bond, or commemorate) depending on the contest rules. The student may write about subject matter related to their community, beliefs, and the larger world.
The Topic for an Original Oration
A competition may select topics for the original oration with the aid of the coach or teacher, but the work itself must be the product of the contestant alone. The coach or teacher cannot help the student write or develop the content of the presentation. The oration may alert the audience to a threatening danger, strengthen its devotion to an accepted cause, or eulogize a person.
Structure of an OO Round
Georgia High School rules require a new oration each year, and contestants may not use a speech that she or he used in any GFCA contest before the current school year. Like most individual forensic events, OO does not permit visual aids. The student chooses an oration for a tournament and uses the same speech for the duration of the competition.
Not more than one-hundred-and-fifty (150) words of the oration may be quoted directly from any other speech or writing to ensure that students create an original work. Competitors shall identify such quotations in the printed copy of the work. Extensive paraphrasing of any source is prohibited, and violation of this rule will result in disqualification from a tournament. A written copy of the oration must be available to the tournament director upon request. Failure to present text of the speech upon request will result in being ranked-down in a round. If you are not interested in preparing your original remarks, then it is best to pursue another competition such as the interpretative events.
Since the contestant writes and memorizes the original oratory before a tournament, the student does not have any preparation time during a round. The orator delivers the same speech in the series of presentations before different judges during the tournament. The student will have a time limit of ten (10) minutes maximum with a thirty (30) second grace period for delivering the speech. Of course, the competitor in Original Oratory should practice the timing of the talk before the tournament.