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 declamation at the 2021 Coolidge Cup, held at the Coolidge Historic Site in Plymouth, Vermont.

This competition OPENS on November 11, 2020, and CLOSES on May 10th, 2021 at 11:59pm ET. To enter, select one (1) speech 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 by the end of May. (Note: Previously the deadline was set to April 30th, but we have extended it. The new deadline is May 10th.)


The top finisher in each state (up to 50 states plus Washington, D.C.) will receive a prize. Additionally, as a Coolidge Cup qualifier competition, 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 2021 Coolidge Cup, held July 2-4, 2021.

Speeches to Choose From

Download the Coolidge Cup Official Speech Excerpt Packet for 2021 (PDF) and choose one of these speech excerpts to declaim in your video.

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 multiple 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.


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.

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.)
  • 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 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.