Coolidge Cup Qualifier for Declamation

Welcome to the Coolidge Cup Qualifying Tournament for Declamation. In this video-based competition, the top finisher in each state will receive a prize, and the top 8 finishers overall will earn an invitation to compete in the declamation event at the 2022 Coolidge Cup speech and debate tournament, held at the Coolidge Historic Site in Plymouth, Vermont on July 2-4, 2022.

The deadline for the competition is April 16th, 2022 at 11:59pm ET. To enter, select one (1) speech excerpt from the official packet of three speeches by President Coolidge that we have provided below, record a video of yourself declaiming it, and then fill out the submission form at the bottom of this page. Winners will be notified of the results in May.

How it Works

First, download the official 2022 Coolidge Cup Online Declamation Speech Packet. Read the speech excerpts and choose one speech excerpt to declaim in your video. Familiarize yourself with the speech excerpt of your choice. When you are ready, create a video of yourself delivering the speech. Then upload your video and fill out the submission form by the April 16th deadline. The Coolidge Foundation will judge the entries.

Prizes

The top finisher in each state (up to 50 states plus Washington, D.C.) will receive a prize. The top 8 finishers overall in this competition will receive an invitation to travel to Plymouth, Vermont, expenses paid, to compete in the declamation event at the 2022 Coolidge Cup, held July 2-4, 2022.

Note for students from New England states: this year, we are offering a special incentive to students from New England states. If you are from Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island, you are eligible for the New England Challenge incentive. Read more about the New England Challenge here.

Video Dos and Don’ts

  • DO speak loudly and clearly
  • DO record your video in “landscape” (i.e., horizontal) mode, not “portrait” (i.e., vertical) mode
  • DO title your videos with your name and the name of the speech
  • DO NOT do any further editing (“cutting”) of the text of the speech that we have provided
  • DO NOT declaim a speech that is not among the ones we have provided in the packet
  • DO NOT use any props, or edit your video to enhance it with music, photos, graphics, etc.

Judging Process and Criteria

Your declamation video will be scored by Coolidge judges on a 30-point scale. We will share the final results of the competition for all competitors, but unfortunately due to the volume of entries we receive, we cannot provide you with individualized feedback, coaching, or analysis.

Our judges are looking for students to speak at an appropriate volume, with good articulation, and at a reasonable rate of speed. Try to connect with the text and demonstrate an understanding of the material you are delivering. Other elements of style include good eye contact, appropriate gesturing, and good posture. Remember that this is your delivery of President Coolidge’s speech. Do not try to mimic what you think President Coolidge sounded like when he gave the speech.

There is no particular time minimum or maximum.

Eligibility

This application is open to legal residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are current high school students and who have received permission in writing from a parent or legal guardian. Students must be in grades 9-12 for the current school year. You do not need to be part of a school speech and debate team or club in order to take part in this contest. If you earn an invitation to the Coolidge Cup in both declamation and debate, you will have to choose which event you would like to compete in (for scheduling reasons it is not possible to compete in both events simultaneously).


Entry Form

  • Be sure to give us an email address that works. If your school does not allow people from outside your school to send you email, then provide an alternative address. (Otherwise, you won't receive results and we won't be able to contact you.)
  • What is the name of the school that you attend?
  • Did a teacher or a speech/debate coach tell you about this competition? If so, and if you can share his or her email address, please do so here.
  • You may use YouTube, Vimeo, or any other similar video platform. Make sure that we can access it via the link you provide, and that you have the permissions set so that it doesn't require a password.
  • Every student needs to fill out our Media Release form. Please download the form using the following URL, fill out the form, and then upload a scan of it here. https://coolidgefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ReleaseForm_Coolidge-Declamation-Mashup-Video.pdf
    Max. file size: 10 MB.