Tournament Information

For more information, please visit the tournament webpage:

Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade contestants participate in three rounds: elocution, extemporaneous reading, and impromptu speaking. 

Round One: Elocution

Contestants deliver from memory, without the assistance of notes, an elocution piece 3 to 4 minutes in length.  This may be an original composition, prose, or poetry taken from a book or printed copy. Contestants at all grade levels are penalized for speeches that exceed or fall short of the 3-4 minute time limit.

There are three divisions in this round for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade: serious, humorous and patriotic.

Round Two:  Extemporaneous Reading

This round determines how well the contestant can read with only 10 minutes of preparation.  All contestants receive the same reading, but students have no opportunity to hear the preceding contestants’ delivery. 

Parents, coaches, and visitors may help the contestants during the 10-minute practice period.  Once the practice readings are collected, all parents, coaches, and visitors must enter the classroom or go to the coaches’ room, cafeteria, or lobby and wait for the end of round two.  No coach, parent, or visitor is allowed in the hallways during round two. Any student repeatedly making noise or who is near a parent/coach in the hallway will be subject to possible point deduction from the second round scores.

After the ten-minute practice period, students return the reading selection to the judge’s assistant and wait outside the door until it is their turn to read, at which time they enter the classroom and receive a copy of the selection from which to read.

Round Three: Impromptu Speaking

In the third round, contestants choose one of four possible topics for a 2-3 minute impromptu speech. Visitors wait outside the classroom for 10 minutes while students plan their speeches (note cards and pencils are provided).  The speech should contain a brief introduction, two to three main points for development, and a logical conclusion.  Only notes prepared during the ten-minute preparation period may be used during delivery.  Note cards are collected at the end of the 10-minute period and held by the judge’s assistant until it is the student’s turn to speak.  When the judge’s assistant has finished collecting each contestant’s note cards, the classroom doors will be opened, allowing observers to enter.

Students share the topic (word) they have chosen and then begin their speech. Contestants are penalized for speeches that exceed or fall short of the 2-3 minute time limit for all grade levels.

Final Round: Tie-Breaker

In the event of a tie, students will present their elocution speeches before a panel of judges.  Scores are calculated and prizes will be determined after this round.  This round is for all contestants who tie for prizes.

Timing of Speeches

Timing begins when the student starts the speech. 

For Round Three – Impromptu, the student will be asked to say the word or phrase that they drew at random.  This does not count in the speech time.  The timer will start when the speech begins.

Timing for all grade levels is the same.  The time limit for Round One Elocution speeches is 3-4 minutes. Round Three impromptu speeches must fall within the time limit of 2-3 minutes.

Each student assistant is trained to give hand signals when the student reaches:

  • One minute (holds one finger in the air)
  • Two minutes (holds two fingers in the air)
  • Three minutes (holds three fingers in the air)
  • Three minutes thirty seconds (3 fingers on each hand)
  • Four Minutes – Stop sign held until child stops

The assistant will hold the hand signal for approximately 10 seconds.  It is the contestant’s responsibility to look at the assistant for the timing signals – if needed. The student assistant will be as unobtrusive as possible and will put their hand down after 10 seconds or so, whether or not the contestant noticed the signal.

General Information

Location and Time

The tournament will be held on the Valley Catholic School Campus, located at 4275 S.W. 148th Avenue, Beaverton (near the corner of TV Highway and Murray Blvd.).  Parking is challenging so please build in extra time to look for parking.  You may need to park off campus.

Please arrive at Valley Catholic High School between 7:45 and 8:00 a.m.  Report to the Valiants gym lobby to check in.  A welcome assembly is held in the gym before the competition begins. The competition finishes at 2:30 p.m. with the awards ceremony occurring after the tie-breaker, approx. 3:00 p.m.

Entrance Fee*

To cover the expenses of conducting this tournament, a fee of $15.00 is charged for each contestant.  Refunds are not allowed, but transfers will be accepted.  For example: If Allison Gray registers and is not able to attend, John Black may re-register in her place on the day of the tournament.  However, he/she must enter the same category (e.g. serious) and must be in the same grade as the student he/she is replacing.

*Please note: The coach from each school is responsible for registering their students on-line and sending one check for all participating students. Students may not register individually.

Attendance and Rules

We welcome any interested sixth, seventh, eighth grade students sponsored by a teacher-coach.  Parents are encouraged to attend the tournament and may help contestants during Round Two.  Please do not bring other children unless they are fifth grade or older.

Parents, coaches and visitors may observe student speeches.  All visitors and contestants must stay in the assigned room until contestants in all rooms are finished with each round.  This courtesy ensures that no speakers are disrupted by hallway noise and applies to all rounds and grade levels. Please note there may be 15-20 minutes in which you are confined to a classroom, waiting for other rooms to finish.

Spectators may not sit near or interfere with the judges.

In the case of an emergency, including the use of the restroom or uncontrolled coughing, observers will be released from the classroom but will not be allowed to return to the classroom until the appropriate time.

Flash photography, videotaping, and cell phones are not allowed during the competition, but are fine during the awards presentation. 

Electronic devices are not allowed during speeches. Any device that may cause a distraction to the participants must be turned off during the competition. Electronics will be allowed ONCE A ROUND IS FINISHED but will be confiscated if they disrupt a competition or are used during the round in progress. Note:  You may notice the judge’s assistant using a cell phone or tablet to time speeches and enter scores. 

Who Are the Judges?

Generally, the judges are members of the community, school teachers and administrators, members of Toastmasters and International Training in Communication Clubs of the Beaverton area.  They serve in the capacity of objective, competent judges for all the rounds. 

  • Please do not sit directly behind or near the judge.  Also, please know that the judges are instructed not to discuss any element of a child’s speech with an observer, so please do not ask.
  • No coaching is allowed once the round begins – even if it is between contestant speeches.  Any person doing so may be asked to leave and the contestant will be docked points.


Trophies will be presented and scholarships will be announced at the awards ceremony.

Eighth Grade:

Tuition scholarships worth $500 and trophies will be awarded to the eighth grade student with the highest combined score in each of the three speech divisions (serious, humorous, and patriotic).  Scholarships will be paid directly to the Catholic high school of the winner’s choice. The scholarship winner in each eighth grade division will deliver his/her elocution speech to the audience. 

Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Grade:

Trophies will be awarded first place, second place, third place, and honorable mention in each of the three grade-level speech divisions (serious, humorous, and patriotic).

How Do I Dress?

Presentation is important, and this includes personal appearance.  Students are to dress and groom themselves in a manner that is modest, clean and appropriate to a Catholic school environment.   While parents and students have the primary responsibility for personal appearance, Valley Catholic School Administration reserves the right to disqualify any student who is dressed inappropriately.

The following guidelines are used to determine appropriate dress:

  • Clothing should be neat, tasteful and hemmed.  Skirts, dresses, or slits can be no more than two inches above the knee.   Dresses must have sleeves and modest necklines. 
  • All shirts and blouses must have sleeves and a modest neckline.  No sheer, midriff, tight, or clingy tops.  No stomach or back skin can show when both arms are raised above shoulder height.  Sleeves should extend at least three inches down the arm beyond the edge of the shoulder. 
  • Clothing may not be excessively baggy, and pants must be fitted at the waist.
  • Jeans and sweatshirts are not recommended.

Snacks and Lunch

Contestants and visitors may eat lunch in the school cafeteria or gymnasium.  Please bring money to purchase food at the tournament or bring your own lunch.  Coffee, tea, and other drinks (bottled water, sodas, etc.) and various snacks (bagels, muffins, candy bars, etc.) are available for purchase throughout the day and at lunch.

Sandwiches, dessert, and beverages will be available for sale in both the elementary and high school cafeterias.  Items are sold a la carte and cannot be preordered.

Food Allergies

While we try to provide a range of snack options for the contestants, we cannot guarantee that any product is allergy free.  In addition, please know that we are NOT a nut free campus and products containing nuts will be available for purchase.

What if I Arrive Late?

Whether you are a contestant, parent, or coach, if you arrive to VCS after 8:15 a.m., please go immediately to the main Valley Catholic High School office.  There you will be provided with the room assignments and a VCS staff member will direct you to the competition classroom.  If the tournament is underway, you will not be allowed to enter the competition classroom while a contestant is mid-speech.  Please wait until the end of the speech to enter.

Questions/First Aid

Valley Catholic staff members and parent volunteers are in all the hallways to help you with any question that might arise during the tournament or go to the main office (in either building) for help.