The Catholic University of America

Dec. 4, 2007

Annual Contest Offers Eloquent Students Chance at $1,000

Students who enjoy using public speaking skills are invited to vie for the third annual Hartke Declamation Prize. Open to all CUA students - graduate or undergraduate, full- or part-time, degree- or non-degree seeking - the contest will award a $1,000 first prize, $300 second prize and $200 third prize.

To compete, contestants are asked to propose two readings from poetry, literature, drama, speeches, essays or commentary keyed to the theme "Sports and Leisure" by Monday, Dec. 17. The contest is held in memory of Rev. Gilbert V. Hartke, O.P., founder of CUA's drama department.

The competition round will be held in CUA's Callan Theatre on Monday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m., and anyone can come to be part of the audience. Readings will be declaimed from memory and contestants will be judged on elements of diction, elocution, presence and presentation. One of the pieces recited should be no more than five minutes in length, and the other piece should be no more than two minutes in length. The winners will be named at the end of the competition.

The annual competition is the brainchild of professional actor and CUA alumnus Jack Knight, class of 1964, who donated the prize money. Knight won a similar declamation award while he was a student at the University of Massachusetts. It helped inspire him to take up a career as a television, film and stage actor.

For more information or to submit entries, contact Melissa Flaim, a lecturer in voice and speech in CUA's Department of Drama, at