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. For the last hundred years, BLS students have chosen, memorized, and interpreted excerpts from poems, novels, speeches, plays, essays, and works of nonfiction to share with their peers, staff, and guests in our auditorium. 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 scholarship prizes and honors for their performances.
Prize declamation participants, 2022
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.