Coolidge Cup Qualifier for Declamation

Welcome to the Coolidge Cup Qualifying Tournament for Declamation. In this video-based competition, the top 10 finishers overall will earn an invitation to compete in the declamation event at the 2023 Coolidge Cup speech and debate tournament, held at the Coolidge Historic Site in Plymouth, Vermont on July 2-4, 2023. Other prizes are being offered this year, too; see below for details.

The deadline for the competition is Saturday, April 15th, 2023 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 2023 Coolidge Cup Qualifier for Declamation Speech Packet (PDF). Read the speech excerpts and choose one speech excerpt you would like to declaim in your video. Familiarize yourself with the speech excerpt of your choice by reading and practicing it. When you are ready, create a video of yourself delivering the speech. Then upload your video and fill out the submission form by the deadline. The Coolidge Foundation will judge the entries.


For the 2023 declamation qualifier competition, we are offering an exciting set of prizes:

  • The top 50 finishers will each receive a copy of the newly published edition of Coolidge’s book of speeches, titled Have Faith in Massachusetts.
  • The top finisher in each state (plus Washington, D.C.) will receive a prize of $100.
  • The top 10 finishers overall will receive an invitation to travel to Plymouth, Vermont, to compete in the declamation event at the 2023 Coolidge Cup, held July 2-4, 2023. This includes a travel assistance stipend and full coverage of hotel and meal expenses while at the Coolidge Cup.

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 or 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.

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. You do not need to memorize the entire speech, but we do recommend that you practice it many times so that you have strong familiarity with it and can demonstrate good, frequent eye contact. Other elements of style include 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 minimum or maximum in terms of time or the length of your video.

We will share the final results of the competition for all competitors here on this web page sometime in May after all the videos are scored. Unfortunately, due to the volume of entries we receive, we cannot provide you with individualized feedback, coaching, or analysis.


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, we won't be able to contact you.)
  • What is the name of the school that you attend? (If you are homeschooled, write Homeschool.)
  • 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 submit a Media Release form. Please download the form using the following URL, fill out the form, and then upload a scan of it here.