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Contest Rules

For a complete list of current contest rules or other materials please contact Signal Press.

Phone: (847) 864-1396


The WCTU is the official sponsor of the contests. 

Contests are open to all students. Rules are set by the WCTU and the decision of the judges is final.

Local contests are to be completed by March 15th. The first place winner in each category is forwarded to the State WCTU by April 15th. The first place state winner in each category is sent on to the National Education Director

by June 15th National winners are announced at the National WCTU convention.  

Picture Coloring Contest

Kindergarten - 3rd Grade

The Picture Coloring Contest is offered to primary age students to give them an opportunity to present in an artistic manner a message promoting abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. Coloring sheets are available from Signal Press. Color sheets for the current year must be used. The Name, Grade, Age, School, Teacher's Name, City, State should be on the back of the coloring sheet. 

Judging: There should be three judges, preferably including a primary teacher, an individual with an art background, and a WCTU member. The entries will be judged on: Originality 25%, Appropriateness of colors 25%, Neatness and accuracy 25%, Instant appeal 25%.


Poster Contest

Grades 4-12

Purpose: To offer students an opportunity to research and present an artistic message on the inherent dangers of alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs or abuse of prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs with an emphasis on total abstinence as the right choice.


Color: Harmonious colors with strong contrast is encouraged.

Lettering: Use any combination of lettering and spacing which is readable and emphasizes key points.

Design: Theme and execution should be bold, gain attention, and have eye-appeal. Think "billboard."

Originality is very important. Target audience is youth.


  • Use poster board - 22 inches x 14 inches in size.

  • Cut-outs are permitted in Division I and II but only original artwork in Division III.

  • Do not use product images, trade-marks, brand names or copyrighted material. 

  • Messages such as "Don't Drink and Drive" are NOT acceptable. The message must be that any use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs is unacceptable.

  • The upper right-hand corner of the reverse side must include: Name, Grade, Age, School, Teacher's Name, City, State.

Posters not following the requirements will be eliminated.


Judging: There should be three (3) judges, preferably at least one with an art background, and a WCTU member for another.


Criteria: Originality 40%, Design and color 20%, Clear and accurate message 20%, Instant appeal 20%.


For both the Poster and Essay Contest:

Division I - grades 4 - 6

Division II - grades 7 - 9

Division III - grades 10 - 12


Essay Contest

Purpose: To offer students an opportunity to research and write on the subject of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs with an emphasis on total abstinence as the preferred choice.


Topics by Division:

Division I - Why is alcohol use dangerous for adolescents?  (200 - 300 words)

Division II - What are the dangers of electronic cigarettes? (300 - 500 words)

Division III - What is the impact of drug addiction on society? (600 - 1,000 words)


General Essay Requirements:

  • The content must adhere to the topic.

  • Sources must be included as a bibliography. All direct quotations must be noted and attributed (not to exceed 20% of content.)

  • Use standard paper size, white paper, one inch margins. Use one side, double spaced. Essays may be handwritten or computer-generated.

  • The original and two copies must be submitted. NO copies will be returned.

  • Each essay must have a cover sheet and all pages, including the cover, must be attached. The cover sheet is to include the name of the participate, age, grade, school, city, and teacher's name.

  • Each essay shall include a word count placed in the upper right hand corner of page one.

  • Purchase of resource packets is NOT required but use of references (below) is encouraged.


National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism -

National Institute on Drug Abuse -

Get Smart About Drugs - 

Judging: There are to be three (3) judges. One judge should be a member of the WCTU.


Criteria: Style and persuasiveness 30%, Factual accuracy 20%, Originality 20%, Grammar and construction 20%, Neatness 10%.

Intercollegiate Oratorical

Awards: First Place $500, Second Place $400, Third Place $300

Purpose: The WCTU believes that young people should be aware of the problems involved with the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and illegal drugs. To encourage and promote research into the effects of these substances as they relate to the health and happiness of the individual, the protection of the home, safety, crime, and violence, college students are invited to compete in the State and National Intercollegiate Oratorical Contests sponsored by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. For more information contact your State President or the NWCTU President Merry Lee Powell at

State Contests: Preliminary contests are to be held in the states. the time (preferably after March 1 and before June 30) and place of state contests will be announced after consulting with the participating colleges. State contest rules and judging must comply with the National WCTU Contest Rules and Judging Considerations. State awards are set by each state. 

A complete list of Rules is available from Signal Press at: Catalog #IOC-01


Rules & Judging Considerations

Subject Matter (30%) 


  • The general topic must be on the use of beverage alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs such as marijuana or cocaine and their related problems; the effects of these substances as they relate to the health and happiness of the individual, the protection of the home, safety, crime and economics. 

  • The content must be original and demonstrate depth of research. A list of at least ten references is required (with 5 appropriately cited in the speech). Personal references should be used sparingly. 

  • Abstinence must be referred to as the solution or, at least, part of the solution.


Note: The WCTU does not consider alcoholism to be a disease, but a condition that develops because of the use of alcohol.

Composition (20%)

  • Effective use of language with emphasis on clarity, logical development, structure, and word choice will be judged

  • All orations must state the problem, state the solution and demonstrate how the solution would, in fact, eliminate the problem.

Delivery (50%)

  • The length of the oration should be eight to ten minutes. No one will be allowed to speaker longer than twelve minutes. No props or charts may be used. Note cards (3x5) may be used; however memorization is encouraged.

  • Other judging criteria shall include: overall appearance, posture, vocal quality (volume, tone, inflection emphasis, etc.) pronunciation, effective use of gestures, eye contact, enthusiasm and audience response. 


Each state winner who will be participating in the National Contest should send the following materials to Merry Lee Powell, National President, 233 Rock Lake Rd., Fairmont, WV 26554 by July 1st.

  • Five double spaced, typed copies of the oration complete with references and chosen title.

  • One cover sheet with oration title, contestant's name, address, telephone number, and a short biographical sketch, with a photograph.

  • Failure to meet the July 1st deadline may result in the contestant being ineligible to participate. 


Submissions not conforming to the official rules are subject to disqualification.

Judges: There shall be three (3) judges at each level appointed by contest chairperson. Whenever possible, one or more of the judges should be a member of the WCTU. 

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