Speech Night 2008

 
 
 

Recitations, now a rarity, were common fare a century and a half ago. The great statesman and orator Daniel Webster had a special ability in this area as a young student. A certain schoolmaster once announced that there would be a prize for the student who could memorize the most verses from Scripture. At the contest one student memorized 25; another, 40; still another, 52, all without stumbling. Then it was Daniel’s turn. After he recited the first ten psalms, without a pause or mistake, the teacher stopped him and declared him the winner.

    Memorizing poetry is a valuable teaching tool for several reasons. First, it provides the student with vocabulary in context and ideas to draw upon for thought, reflection and writing. If the material memorized is spiritual or moral in nature, it is likely to influence his affections and hopefully steer his heart towards God. Memorization also exercises the mind in a very empowering way and increases the student’s ability later in life to memorize. Lastly, it provides a pattern (especially when the material is poetry) for musical rhythms, syntax, and phrasing. Listen for the quoted poems in the dramatic presentations of the elementary and middle school students.

    There are essentially three literature classes represented here in tonight’s presentation. The first class you will see tonight will be the students of “English History and Literature,” a course that covered England’s colorful pageant of monarchs, their reigns, and the various political, social, economic and religious struggles that attended them. Depicting 14th-century England as Chaucer saw it through dramatic economic and religious struggles that attended them. Depicting 14th-century England as Chaucer saw it through dramatic monologues, the students’ presentation “Chaucer’s World” is a snippet of that study. In addition to studying English history, students read English literature in a chronological survey. Our tandem study of classic literature and history encouraged students to observe the influences of history upon literature and to recognize the importance of having a knowledge of history in order to understand the content of many classic works.

    The “Influence of Greek Literature” class studied Greek literature and the influence it has had on the body of classic English and American works. Students began with a reading of Greek mythology, dramas and epics, including Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Homer’s Odyssey. Students ended the year with a reading of English and American works that make allusions to or retell the Greek stories in poetry or prose (e.g., Tennyson’s “Ulysses” and Keats’ odes). In reading these works, students examined how the author interpreted the specific myths or stories. Our reading also included works that evinced the Greek view of life or the Greek art of composition (e.g., Tennyson’s “Tithonus” and Shakespeare’s Hamlet). The dramatic monologues that you see tonight reflect our study of the Greek view of life as seen through Greek myths and literature.

    The high school students in the third class studied drama, essays, poetry, and speeches. Their presentations this evening will reflect the latter part of the year in which they studied speeches, logical fallacies, and rhetorical devices. In their study of speech-making, students examined famous war speeches, funeral speeches, and political speeches, including the 2008 campaign speeches by the current Republican and Democrat candidates.


The Black Prince recites Psalm 19 in Meter by Isaac Watts

A dramatic monologue by Timmy Harper
Audio          Video


Queen Philippa recites “Lines Written in March” by William Wordsworth
A dramatic monologue by Mary Mox
Audio          Video


The Pardoner quotes Chaucer’s “Prologue”

A dramatic monologue by Ellis Sargeant
Audio          Video 


John Wycliffe quoted a portion of his own translation of the Bible
A dramatic monologue by Jonam Walter
Audio          Video


Richard II recites “Song” by Christina Rossetti

A dramatic monologue by Zachary Klee
Audio          Video


Henry IV recites “To Autumn” by John Keats

A dramatic monologue by Jadon Sargeant
Audio          Video


Wat Tyler tells the story of Robin Hood
A dramatic monologue by Tommy Stevens
Audio          Video


David Bruce recites “The Battle of Bannockburn” by Robert Burns

A dramatic monologue by Samuel Walter
Audio          Video


Geoffrey Chaucer tells his story of a chicken

A dramatic monologue by Gabriel Klee
Audio          Video


New and Improved

A speech by Daniel Mox
Audio          Video    


Our Firm Foundation

A speech by Emily Mox
Audio          Video


An Old Argument and an Older Defense

A speech by Nicholas Furton
Audio          Video


Observing the Constitution

A speech by Benjamin Walter
Audio          Video


“Torquemada” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A dramatic monologue by Austin Berman
Audio          Video


The NAIS: a Hydra-Headed Monster

A speech by Oliver Kocher

Audio          Video


A Compilation of the Speeches in One Minute
By Micah John Walter

Audio          Video



 

When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language.

—James Earl Jones

Speech Night 2008