What is Declamation?

Reflection by Alejandra Gonzalez, Cambridge Junior & Communication Intern.


What is declamation? Declamation is a tradition here at Cambridge in which all 6th through 11th graders must participate. In memorizing a text and presenting it before an audience, students learn to use the rhetorical power of speech. Initially, students must recite a piece 3-5 minutes long in front of their literature class for a major grade. The best candidates from their classes then proceed into the semi-finals and, if selected, move on to the final competition. These competitions are divided between the Middle and Upper School students. The final event of Declamation takes place an evening in February in which the students recite their piece in front of their family, friends, classmates, and distinguished judges who are brought in to select an Upper School and Middle School winner.

This year students can select anything in the Cambridge curriculum, which includes history, theology, literature, and more. Every student must select a unique piece and there can be no duplicates. Students receive plenty of time to work on memorizing their text and creating an eloquent speech to recite in their literature class. Many students have already selected their pieces for this year’s Declamation and are excited to recite their pieces for their classmates and professors. Declamation is a key part of the Cambridge experience and I’m looking forward to declaiming for the last time.