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Languages Department

The Declamation contest

Annually, South Carolina and Georgia students funnel into Daniel Hall to recite chosen selections in their respective studies – American Sign Language, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. Each participant is judged on textual accuracy, pronunciation, text interpretation and smoothness of delivery.

The contest was founded in 1971 by Professor Emeritus Harry Stewart. Participating in the contest isn’t the only worthwhile experience for middle school and high school students. Some of whom are prospective Clemson University students on their very first college campus tour. The chance to visit the University is a draw in its own right.

The Fiftieth Annual Declamation Contest

 October 21, 2023

 

Online Pre-registration Deadline: Friday, September 22, 2023

On-site Registration: 8:30 - 9:45 a.m., October 21, Daniel Hall

Contest: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., October 21, Daniel Hall

Fee: $10 per contestant (a student can enter in multiple contests for one flat fee)

Awards Ceremony: 1:30 p.m., October 21, Humanities Lecture Hall G66

Campus Tours: 9am, 11am, and 12pm, meet at Daniel Hall main entrance

Teachers/parents Drop-In Session: 10:30-11:15, Daniel 309

Contact:  Su-I Chen, poetry_declamation@clemson.edu for questions

Clemson University expects parents, guardians and chaperons to provide supervision over minors who are in their care while on campus. Parents, guardians and chaperons should not leave minors unsupervised on University property at any time.

  • Rules and Guidelines

    ELIGIBILITY

    The contest is open to students regularly enrolled in middle and high school language courses. Students may compete only in languages and levels for courses in which they are currently enrolled (except for Native Level where students do not have to be currently enrolled in a course--see below). In the case of block scheduling, a student who has completed a language course in the spring (e.g. Level II) and who is not currently enrolled in that language may compete at the level most recently completed. 

    LANGUAGE

    Contest competitions are offered in the following languages: American Sign Language, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian and Spanish. Students may participate in multiple languages.

    • For French and Spanish contests, a limit of only two students per teacher per category may register.
    • For Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Russian contests, a limit of only four students per teacher per category may register.
    • For ASL contests, there is no limit of students per teacher per category.

    CATEGORIES (for all languages except ASL)

    These categories are for Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian and Spanish.

    Entrants must specify their Language, Level, and Class, as described below, except for students with native language speaking ability. Native speakers, regardless of their year level in school or in a foreign language class, must compete in the "Native" category AND must recite Level IV poems.

    LEVEL - This indicates the year level of the foreign language course the student is enrolled in.

    • Level 1 = Students in First Year courses
    • Level 2 = Students in Second Year courses
    • Level 3 = Students in Third Year courses
    • Level 4 = Students in Fourth Year courses, AP courses or higher

    CLASS - This indicates experience. 

    • CLASS A = Students whose contact with the foreign language has been limited to the classroom only
    • CLASS B = Students who have had significant contact with the foreign language either at home or abroad, but who are not fluent 
    • Note: Students enrolled in the 5th year courses or higher and students enrolled in AP language courses should compete in Level 4B.

    NATIVE CATEGORYStudents at ANY language level, who have a speaking proficiency equivalent to that of a native speaker, must enroll in the Native Category AND recite Level IV poems. This is regardless of their year in school or their year in a foreign language class. Native entrants must be current middle or high school students, but not necessarily enrolled in a language course.

    BACKGROUND: Teachers should make a careful distinction among Classes A, B, and Native categories. Students may be disqualified if, in the opinion of the judges, they are in the wrong level or class. If there are questions, please e-mail Dr. Su-I Chen (poetry_declamation@clemson.edu).

    CATEGORIES for ASL

    CLASS A: Students of ASL and CODAs (children of deaf adults) who are not fluent.

    CLASS B: Native ASL users and CODAs with proficiency equivalent to native users.


    CONDITIONS AND GUIDELINES

    1. Each participant will recite two selections from memory:

    (1) the Mandatory Selection and 

    (2) a Second Selection chosen from the other three selections given 

    IMPORTANT: No change or variation of the text as given will be accepted. Students must recite the selections as they are posted.

    2. An attempt will be made to place students of the same teacher into different contest groups. However, this placement is not always possible and students of the same teacher may compete against each other. The placement into contests is dependent upon the number of students registered for a level.

    3. A prompter will be available in each contest room and will be seated near the front of the room. Contestants should check with the Contest Room Supervisor as to the exact location of the prompter as they enter the contest room to recite their poems. Contestants should signal the prompter (for example, by looking at him/her) if they need help.

    4. Contestants in the same contest will not be permitted to hear other contestants reciting the Mandatory Selection. Contestants may, however, listen to their competing peers' Second Selection.

    5. Teachers, parents, and friends of the contestants are invited to join the audience in the contest rooms, but we do ask that no one enter or leave a room while a recitation is in progress. Please remember, however, that contestants in the same contest will not be permitted to hear other contestants reciting the Mandatory Selection. Contestants may, however, listen to their competing peers' Second Selection.

    6. Scoring criteria: Judges base their decision on pronunciation, interpretation of text, smoothness of delivery and textural accuracy. All results are final.

    Scoring for all languages except ASL:

    • Textual Accuracy: How accurate is the recitation of the poem text? Does the contestant leave out words or lines, or does he/she confuse the order of the lines / stanzas?
    • Pronunciation: Does the contestant have clear pronunciation?
    • Text Interpretation: Does the contestant use appropriate phrasing, pauses, tone of voice to interpret the poems? Gestures are permitted but they should not detract from the presentation of the poems. No props are allowed. No singing of the poems is allowed.
    • Smoothness of Delivery: How smooth is the delivery of the poems? Does the contestant break the continuity of the poem? Does he/she call on the prompter? Calling on the prompter would be considered a break in continuity.

    Scoring for ASL:

    • Accuracy: Presents entire poem; Includes 5 ASL parameters of poem; Uses correct rhythm and tempo
    • Non-Manual behaviors: Uses grammatical and emotive facial expression consistently and correctly; Appropriate eye-gaze, body movements, role shift and non-manual markers (eyes, eyebrows, lips, head, body/shoulders) 
    • Clarity: Contestant produces signs clearly and artistically; Correct use of 4 parameters (handshape, palm orientation, location and movement)
    • Smoothness of Delivery: Smooth flow of communication with confidence. ASL grammar vocabulary is used correctly; Does not hesitate, and poem is practiced and polished

    7. Prizes: First, second and third place prizes will be awarded at the discretion of the judges. Award certificates will be mailed out to the schools. We greatly appreciate that each school presents the certificates to their students on our behalf.

    8. Use of Props: Props of any kind are not permitted. Singing is also prohibited. While the use of gestures is permitted, they should not detract from the presentation of the poem.

    9. Hallway noise and congestion: Please remind your students, their parents and yourselves to refrain from talking or congregating in the hallways while the contest is in session. We want to ensure that noise does not interfere with the contestants' recitations or the judges' ability to hear them. We are planning on designating rooms on the different floors as waiting rooms for parents, teachers and students who have finished their recitations. Once students have completed both selections, please arrange to meet your students in the designated waiting areas so that we can keep the hallways free of noise and congestion.

  • Contest Registration

    To compete, entrants must follow these three steps:

     

    Step 1: Pre-Registration

    The sponsoring teachers or parents must complete Pre-Registration Form by the deadline.

    To register, download the Excel file and fill out the information listed in the spreadsheet.

    Please email the completed form to: poetry_declamation@clemson.edu 

    For Class B or Native category, please provide the language background information. We need to properly place students in the correct category.

    Any teacher can register (or sponsor) any student; students do not need to be in the teacher's class.

    You may use this form to register multiple entrants in different categories, but remember that:

    • For French and Spanish contests, a limit of only two students per teacher per category may register.
    • For Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Russian contests, a limit of only four students per teacher per category may register.
    • For ASL contests, there is no limit of students per teacher per category.

    IMPORTANT: We ask that registration forms be completely filled out, including language background for Class B and Native students. Incomplete forms will be returned to the teacher. 

    Step 2: Pay Registration Fees

    Fee: Registration is $10.00 per contestant (checks only).

    Deadline: Checks must be RECEIVED no later than Friday, September 22, 2023, in order for your students to be officially registered. Postmark dates will not be observed - only checks RECEIVED by 9/22/2023 will be accepted.

    Send only one check: Teachers should collect the $10.00 fee from each student pre-registered, but they should send only one check to cover all registrants.

    Make check payable toClemson Declamation

    Mail check to:
    Su-I Chen, Director, Declamation 2023
    Department of Languages 
    717 Strode Tower
    Clemson University
    Clemson, SC 29634-0535

    NOTE: We regret that we are unable to refund entry fees; however, substitutes in the same class will be accepted up to the day of the contest in case of an emergency.  

     

    Step 3: Report to Registration Desk

    Contestants must report to the registration desk between 8:30 and 9:45 a.m. in Daniel Hall on the morning of the contest to receive their contest and waiting room assignments. Students need to be in their waiting rooms no later than 9:50 a.m.

     

  • Poems

    Poems are only available in PDF version. This format provides you with a printable page. The PDF version requires Adobe Acrobat to open.

    POEMS for 2023

    Chinese

    French

    German

    Italian

    Japanese

    Latin

    Russian

    Spanish

    ASL 

    We are grateful to DawnSignPress (https://www.dawnsign.com/) for allowing us to use their poems for the ASL contests. Due to copyright protection, we are not allowed to post the ASL poems on our website. However, if you are a registered contest entrant, teacher of the registered entrants, or judge, we can send you, upon request, the password for you to view the poems. Please contact us to obtain the password. poetry_declamation@clemson.edu 

     

    Videos of ASL poetry (password required)

     

    Poems from previous years:

    2022: ASL   Chinese   French   German   Italian   Japanese   Latin   Russian   Spanish

    2021: ASL   Chinese   French   German   Italian   Japanese   Latin   Russian   Spanish

    2019: ASL   Chinese   French   German   Italian   Japanese   Latin   Russian   Spanish

  • Declamation Program

    The program for declamation is ready for you to download, print off, or save. Please share the online program with your colleagues, students, and parents. The program is subject to modificaton on the day of the contest. 

    2023 Declamation Program

  • Directions and Dining

    Dining

    On Campus: Explore the dining options at Clemson University. Please note that the all-you-can-eat lunch price is $16.05, including tax, and there are no cash payments accepted in the dining halls. However, there are several on-campus retail locations (like Cane's or Chick-fil-A) among the dining options

    Off Campus: There are serval off-campus dining options within walking distance in our downtown area. The closest downtown locations include College Avenue, Sloan Street, Earle Street and Keith Street. For more information, please refer to the "Plan Your Visit" section on the Visit Clemson's website.

    Or, bring your own lunch to Clemson.

    Directions

    Visit Clemson University

    Clemson campus maps

    Campus parking map

    The contests will be held in Daniel Hall.

    The Awards Cemeromy will be held in Humanities Lecture Hall G66

    Parking

    Parking rules and regulations will be enforced on weekends. You can park in the areas we reserved for the event or you will need to purchase a parking permit yourself to park outside the reserved areas. To avoid tickets, please park in the following lots between 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.:

    Cars: E-1 unrestricted employee area (green parking lines) 

    Buses and overflow parking: the rear of C-1

    Note that if a guest parks in a metered parking space, they are expected to pay the meter as regulations are enforced seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

    You are welcome to drop off your students near Daniel Hall to begin registration while you park./p>

    Clemson University expects parents, guardians and chaperons to provide supervision over minors who are in their care while on campus. Parents, guardians and chaperons should not leave minors unsupervised on University property at any time.

  • Results

    Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all who participated in 2023!

    The results of the Declamation Contest for 2023 are listed here.

     

    2023 Results (PDF)

     

Department of Languages
Department of Languages | 717 Strode Tower, Clemson, SC 29634