Speech Night 2013


There are two literature classes represented in Speech Night 2013, Spring: the Essay and Speech Class and the English Literature and History Class. The Essay and Speech Class has been studying a wide variety of essayists, speech writers, poets and dramatists, including (among others) the essayists Charles Lamb, Henry David Thoreau, Christopher Morley, George Orwell, and E. B. White; speech makers Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Webster, Douglass MacArthur, and William Pitt; the poets Alfred Tennyson, William Wordsworth, and Robert Browning; and the dramatists Thornton Wilder and William Shakespeare. Although the class spent much time toward the end of the year discussing authors and literature, much of the class time earlier in the year focused on writing, oratory and rhetoric. Students read essays that served as models for their own writing and that illustrated rhetorical devices, such as antistrophe, the rhetorical question, antimetabole, anadiplosis, asyndeton, anaphora, epitheton, symploce, etc. Tonight you will hear some speeches modeled on the classic essays we read in our study.

The second group of students represented tonight is the English Literature and History Class. Students of this class studied a history of England presented chronologically from the Briton to Victorian period. The study encouraged students to observe the influences of history upon literature and to recognize the importance of having a basic knowledge of history in understanding the content of many classic works. Prominent authors and works were read as representative of the various periods and of the important historical events studied. For example, Robert Southey—who is now remembered today more as a writer of biography than poetry— wrote a famous poem “The Battle of Blenheim,” which was presented as a period piece of Romantic poetry as well as a work written to defame the so-called victory of the English in the eighteenth-century War of the Spanish Succession. Tonight this class will present a segment of their study on the Stuart Period, particularly Charles I. Over the years, I have been asked, “Why do you spend a whole year of English history as opposed to American history? Besides preparing students for a study of British literature, English history presents, more so than any other history, a very colorful and dramatic struggle that eventually defined American freedom. I thought it would be interesting to bring in important figures from other countries, kingdoms and eras to illustrate that the trial of Charles I is very much relevant and correlates to the classical and modern American understanding of liberty, authority and the rights of the people.

Keep in mind all of the speeches below were delivered from memory without any memory aids—no notes or other prompts. Charles I was said to speak with a stutter, and so you will notice that his speech was performed with an eye to authenticity.

“Seniors Citizens” by Bobby Cardie

“Showers of Glory” by Peter Callahan

“The Pressure and Price of Being a Pickle” by Marina Bianco

“Electability” by Samuel Walter

Part 1 of Trial

Solicitor General John Cook by Samuel Walter

Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Jonathan Klee

Robin Hood by Levi Clark

Henry VIII by Stephen Dierkes

Margaret Thatcher by Megan Stevens

Queen Philippa by Rebecca Harper

Guy Fawkes by Jeremiah Levine

Stalin by David Cox

Benjamin Franklin by Mark Stahl

King John by Nate Palmer

Wat Tyler by Richard Stahl

Queen Eleanor by Catherine Lyon

Oliver Cromwell by David Knox

King Charles I by Sam Bushra


“The CSA Farm” by Jonam Walter

“Farming in America” by Fiona Drennen

“Grace Village” by Ben Dimaio

“My Big White Bowl” by Ingrid Stahl

Part 2 of Trial

Solicitor General John Cook by Samuel Walter

Bill Clinton by Daniel Drennen

Ronald Reagan by Daniel Stahl

Barack Obama by Ben Palmer

William III by Brendan Daly

Alexander the Great by Noah Davidson

Queen Victoria by Annie Ghrist

Patrick Henry by James Coffey

Queen Aethelberg by Lia Welch

Boadicea by Elsa Pearl Walter

Gandhi by Ashok Viswanathan

Queen Mary by Elena Sutton

Sarah Palin by Miriam Shera

“Our Pets” by Madeline Clark

“Going Barefoot” by MaryGrace Levis

“Graduation: Ending a Chapter” by Lily Welch


Speech Night 2013 (Spring)


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