Speech Night 2013


There were three literature classes represented in Speech Night 2013, Winter. The youngest group was the Vice and Virtue class. The Vice and Virtue curriculum includes many great authors, such as John Bunyan, Leo Tolstoy, Benjamin Franklin, William Bradford, Isaac Watts, Robert Southey and Guy de Maupassant. The topic of the “Vice and Virtue” course is, as the name suggests, “vice and virtue”; the literature of the course was specifically chosen to encourage students to explore the intricacies of man’s moral life and character. On Speech Night the students presented some of the virtues and vices they learned along with a story that they read or poem or quotation that they memorized.

    The second group of students was the Foundations in Literature and History class. The literature for this class included Roman and Greek history, such as adapted excerpts from Livy’s history of Rome, Homer’s Odyssey, and narratives of the Peloponnesian War and Alexander the Great. In the course, students experienced European and American history through interesting narratives, such as Washington’s penchant for punctuality, Otto von Bismarck’s talent in dueling with schläger, and Napoleon Bonaparte’s pluck as a schoolboy.

    Students of the Classic Works of Imagination, Symbol and Allegory were the oldest represented in the evening’s affair. In this course, students were given an opportunity to see the development of the popular fantasy and science fiction and other symbolic and allegorical genres, with which our modern culture has a fascination. They studied the symbolic, allegorical, psychological and spiritual aspects of fairy tales, fables, Gothic, fantasy, mystery and science fiction. On Speech Night, however, the students delivered persuasive and narrative speeches. The narrative speeches were by inspired one of the essays that they read, George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant." The students were assigned to write a speech, like Orwell's essay, which communicates an observation made from some life experience. Some of the essays are serious, some are humorous.

   Memorizing the classic authors is an integral part of our home school curriculum for all of the students represented here. The “Foundations” class, for example, were assigned to commit thirty-five quotations and six poems to memory by the end of the year. Such extensive memorization may seem laborious, but it can be the single-most constructive part of a child’s education. To know why students should memorize poetry, check out “10 Reasons Why Students Should Memorize Poetry.”

    Keep in mind all of the speeches below were delivered from memory without any memory aids—no notes or other prompts.

Part 1

Christian Harper as Robert Burns speaking on Robert Bruce

Jada Sankey as Isaac Watts’s mother

Grace Mox, “Hike up Black Bear Mountain”

Rita Altomare as Mrs. Sowerberry of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist

Jack Drennen as the Cyclops of Homer’s Odyssey

Coleman Clark as Benjamin Franklin

Haley Garecht as Annie of Alfred Tennyson’s Enoch Arden

Daniel Stahl, “The Dentist”

Anna Callahan as Evangeline from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Evangeline

Stephen Lozano as the Greek historian Herodotus

Hannah Knox, “The Trail Ride on Texas”

Short Musical Interlude

Part 2

Chloe MacLacklin as Sarah Orne Jewett

Caleb Cavazos as King Philip of Macedon

Ada Germany as King Midas’s wife

Elijah Levine as Chief Justice Marshall

Steven Cox Reciting “Against Idleness and Mischief”

Dawson Garner, “Cultural Boundaries are Broken”

Joshua Louie as Benjamin Franklin

Colette Cavazos as Chanticleer the Chicken of Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest Tale

Maria Dierkes as Emily Dickinson

Marisa Sankey, “Cain and Abel with a Happy Ending”

Ben Callahan as Diogenes

Jacob Adams as William Tell

Tad Lyon, “Swamp Adventures with Alligators”

Short Musical Interlude

Part 3

Louie Ricou as King Canute

Kathryn Luke as Mme. Loisel of Guy de Maupassant’s “Diamond Necklace”

John Paul Stevens, “Taking Things for Granted or with Gratitude”

James Callahan, “The Simple Things in Life”

Andrew Daly as Genghis Khan

Julien Ricou as Alexander the Great

Marcus Shera, “The Money Hole”

Brian Klee as Russell Conwell

Gianna Coffey as Mme. Davranche from Guy de Maupassant’s “My Uncle Jules”

Antonia Milani as Christina Rossetti

Linda Manginelli as Dorothy Wordsworth

Elsa Pearl Walter, “Painting the House”


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 2013 (Winter)