In 1945 Father A. Frances Coomes, a teacher at St. Louis University High School established the Bellarmine Speech League for parochial grade schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Along with a group of dedicated student volunteers from SLUH, Father Coomes copied and distributed public speaking materials to grade schools in the Archdiocese.
Over sixty years later, the Bellarmine Speech League continues to flourish. The League is organized and run by a group of 20+ volunteer board members. Participating students in grades 5-8 develop and improve their public speaking skills by memorizing and performing material in Humorous, Serious, and Duet categories. Students compete in three Speech Meets with teams from other schools during the school year. Ribbons are awarded to participants based upon the total score received from two judges.
A Final Meet with all participating schools is held at the end of each school year. At the Final Meet, trophies are awarded to the top 20% of participants in addition to the traditional ribbons.
Every year, hundreds of dedicated volunteer coaches and judges guide and encourage students towards their goal of becoming a skilled public speaker. Many of the current board members, judges, and coaches developed their love of public speaking and performance through their own participation as students in the Bellarmine Speech League.
For more information about participating in the Bellarmine Speech League and representing St. Peter at one of the Speech Meets, please contact Barb McDoniel.