Public Declamation has a long and rich history at Boston Latin School. A part of the earliest classical curriculum in colonial times, the tradition, lost over time, was revived in the nineteenth century, and has been in place ever since. Four times each year, students compete to earn a spot in the Public Declamation performance, given for their peers in our assembly hall. The final performance each year, Prize Declamation, takes place on Reunion Weekend in early May, when qualifying students declaim before judges from the 25th and 50th year reunion classes, earning prizes and honors for their performances.
Prize Declamation winners, May 2018. First prize: Aaron Achildiyev, Class I, 2nd place: Soumia Litim, Class I, 3rd place: Dasha Belobokova, Class II, 4th place: Xiadi Zhai, Class I. Charles Ma won for best declaimer for Class III and IV. Photo courtesy of BLSA
Students in grades 7-10 are typically required to declaim a selection in their English classes three times during the academic calendar. Students’ class performances are graded on accuracy, interpretation, and oratorical skill. Declamation grades appear on the report cad as a separate column designated as “visual/performing arts,” although they are not factored into a student’s GPA.