Thayer Academy Middle School recently held its 35th annual Declamation Celebration, and the event brought a "Who's Who" of inspiring men and women, both past and present, or at least their inspiring words, ably and dramatically conveyed by more than three dozen student orators from all grades.
The beloved tradition featured no less than President Abraham Lincoln and the succinct genius of his Gettysburg Address. There was President George Washington, President Theodore Roosevelt, and General Douglas MacArthur along with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, author Candace Bushnell, and author Nora Ephron. There was Lady Diana, but there was also Prince Ea (Richard Williams). The words of Michelle Obama appeared several times, as did the musings of one William Shakespeare.
"To all the declaimers, well done," said MS English Faculty and Director of Studies Carter Harrison, who has overseen the Declamation Celebration for years. At one point in the celebration, which was held virtually over three separate days (Grades 5 & 6, Grade 7, Grade 8) because of COVID-19 protocols, participants thanked Harrison, who is retiring at the end of this year, for his hard work and dedication.
The Declamation Celebration begins a focus on public speaking reinforced at all grade levels in both the Middle and Upper Schools. Preparation for the March celebration begins late the previous fall. Students consult with teachers, librarians, and family members before finalizing their selections. Students receive teacher approval in early January and then begin memorizing their selections. While not all students reach the finals, all students do perform a declamation before their classmates in their English classes.
This year's finalists were:
Grade 5 Declaimers:
Grade 6 Declaimers:
Grade 7 Declaimers:
Grade 8 Declaimers
Brooke McHugh '25 warns of the perils of procrastination during the 2021 Declamation Celebration.