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Resources for declamation. Includes links to archived declamation performances, sources for material.

FAQs for Public Declamation

  • What's the difference between classroom, Public, and Prize Declamation?
    • Classroom declamation is required several times a year in ELA and English classes in grades 7-10. Students may also be asked to declaim in Latin, History, or World Language classes.
    • Students may choose to try out for Public Declamation 4 times a year. 10-12 competitors are chosen after try-outs and present in the auditorium in front of their peers.
    • The top students in Public Declamation appear in Prize Declamation during alumni weekend in May each year, competing for honors and scholarships.
  • Why do students choose to participate in Public Declamation?
    • They love public speaking and want to improve
    • They relish using the platform to introduce important issues and share works of literature with their community
    • They enjoy the competition and comradeship of Declamation
    • They want to win honors and scholarship prizes. 
  • What are the criteria for an excellent and acceptable piece for Public Declamation?
    • You should review Public Declamation guidelines before selecting a piece
    • Teachers may have their own criteria for classroom declamation; please read through the Public Declamation criteria to make sure your piece is acceptable.
  • How do I edit a piece for Public Declamation?
    • You must make sure your piece will be approximately 2:30 in length. Students in grades 7-8 may have slightly shorter pieces.
    • You may abridge your piece, but you may not change the writer's language or word choices.
    • Your condensed version of the original piece must respect the author's meaning and intent. You must also consider whether you you are representing the totality of the writer's opinions. For example, if a speaker is opposed to rights for women, but an opening counterargument disingenuously presents them as an advocate for equality, you would be dishonest if you presented only the first section of their speech.
  • How do I try out for Public Declamation?
    • Memorize and practice between 30 and 90 seconds of your piece.
    • Watch for announcements in the Daily Bulletin and submit the required Googleform. On the day of tryouts, come to the auditorium at 2:30 and sign up on the tryout list.
    • You do not need to dress up or prepare your introduction to try out for Public Declamation
  • If I am selected, what should I include in my Public Declamation introduction?
    • The name of your piece, the author, when it first appeared
    • Background information so your audience can have some context for the piece
    • The maximum length for the introduction is 1 minute.
    • Consult this outline for more information on Declamation introductions.
  • How can I become a candidate for Prize Declamation? 
    • You must participate in at least 3 Public Declamations during the school year.

Dressing for Declamation