Bellarmine Speech STL



The aim of the Bellarmine Speech League is to provide an intellectual and cultural forum to train children in the art of verbal communication.


A.        The Bellarmine Executive Board Officers: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary shall be elected from the participating school’s representatives serving on the Advisory Board.

B.         Anyone interested in serving on the Advisory Board can submit his/her name, address and telephone number to any Board member. Prospective Board Members should have previous judging or coaching experience with Bellarmine Speech League.

C.        An officer may have a two-year term in any office.  The Board can vote to extend their term for one more year.

D.        At the October Business Meeting, the new officers will be presented.

E.        Responsibilities of Bellarmine Executive Board Officers:


1.        Set all agendas

2.        Receive all speech meet reports and judge’s sign-in sheets.  Track judge participation for Final Meet scheduling and certification information.  Follow up on reports as necessary with phone calls and/or e-mails.

3.        Order trophies for the Final Meet

4.        Review and update correspondence sent to schools

5.        Run the October Business Meeting

6.        Run all Board meetings

7.        Maintain Board roster and schedule

8.        Welcome new board members

9.        Compile Final Meet Schedule


1.        Liaison to webmaster

2.        Maintain school hosting schedule

3.        Contact host school for Final Meet and send contract

4.        Keep all box supplies and inventory

5.        Schedule January Board Dinner Meeting

6.        Call St. Monica to set up October Business Meeting and purchase soda

7.        Maintain video supply for business meeting


1.        Maintain bank account and checkbook.  Make deposits, pay bills.

2.        Prepare yearly financial statement on October 1.

3.        Order items for Final Meet: drinks, snacks, and pens.

4.        Pick up trophies.

5.        Maintain school roster and receive all annual dues from participating schools.

6.        Purchase gift cards for retiring Board members.


1.        Record and e-mail meeting minutes to Board members

2.        E-mail meeting reminders to Board members

3.        Update and revise documents for use on website as needed

4.         Send correspondence to individual Board members as needed

5.         By and label candy bars for Final Meet teacher thank you gift.

6.         Bring maps of Archdiocese to scheduling meeting

7.        Notify Archdiocesan Director of Fine Arts about Final Meet.


A.         A school wishing to participate in the Bellarmine League must supply a judge with a current Judge’s Card.    The school must also pay the designated registration fee, be an Archdiocesan elementary school (or be voted as a “participating school” by the Board), and adhere to all League rules and regulations as outlined in this Handbook.

B.         Participant Eligibility:

1.         Students in grades 5, 6, 7, and 8.

2.         Schools may enter more than one team.  The teams will, however, be expected to function as separate entities, which includes paying dues and providing judges for each team. Teams will attend meets at separate locations.

3.         Participants must be enrolled in a member school.

C.        Categories:

1.         Duet Acting:  3 teams (6 people) – Letters:  A-B, C-D, E-F

2.         Humorous:    3 people                 - Letters:  G, H, I

3.         Serious         3 people                 - Letters:  J, K, L

D.        Props and Costumes:

1.         Costumes or any clothing that resembles a character are not allowed.

2.         One chair may be used in Humorous and Serious categories.  Students may not stand on the chair. A 1-point deduction should be made in the Visual section for standing on the chair.

3.         Two chairs and one table may be used in Duet Acting.  Students may not stand on the chairs.  Students may not stand, sit, or lie on the table. A 1-point deduction should be made in the Visual section for standing, sitting, or lying on the table.

4.         Props are not allowed.  Anything you were not born with, such as glasses, clothing, shoes, and pockets are considered a prop.  The classroom walls cannot be used as a prop.  Anything you were born with, such as eyes, ears, hair, and toes may be used as a prop.

E.         Centers:

Each participating school, as a requirement of membership in the League, must host a Meet or assist another school in hosting a meet on a rotating basis.  Schools are expected to host one meet every three years.  Schools with two teams are expected to host two meets in a three year period.  In lieu of hosting a meet, schools may host a Judge’s Training Session.

F.         Child Abuse Prevention Program:  it is the responsibility of each school to make sure that their Judges and Coaches are in compliance with the Archdiocese’s guidelines on child abuse prevention including all volunteers must:

1.         Participate in a Protecting God’s Children training program

2.         Read and Sign the Code of Ethical Conduct

3.         Complete a background check.


A.         Attendance is mandatory at the October Business Meeting.  Without a valid excuse for a school’s absence, that school will not be allowed to attend the November meet.

B.         If any school will not be able to participate in an upcoming meet, they must notify one of the Board members in charge of their meet at least two weeks before the meet date.  Any school that does not give a two week notice will not be allowed to participate in the League’s next meet, including the Final Meet.

C.         If a school will not be able to provide a judge for a scheduled meet, the coach must notify one of the Board members in charge of the meet at least two weeks before the meet date.  The school will be able to attend the meet without a judge only if given approval by a Board member in charge of their meet.

D.         Any changes in annual dues will be recommended by the Board at the October Business meeting.  A dues increase must be approved by a majority vote of the League membership.


A.         An adult from a member school who knows and is known by the children MUST accompany the team and be responsible for the children.  This adult must stay with the children until the end of the meet until they are all picked up.  If a child is left unattended at a meet, the principal of that school will be notified.  If it occurs a second time, the school will not be allowed to participate in the next meet, even if it is the Final Meet.

B.         Doors to all Meets open at 9:30am.  The Judge’s meeting and General Assembly begins at 10:00am.  Round I will begin at approximately 10:30am.  Round II will begin approximately 30 minutes after the final bell of Round I.  No participant, judge, or timekeeper may leave the premises between rounds. 

C.         The Bellarmine League will not be responsible for lost or stolen property at any meet.

D.         Each participant, judge, and timekeeper will bring a sack lunch to be eaten in a designated area.  The host school will provide a drink for each participant and judge.

E.         Three regular meets and one Final Meet are held each year. 


A.                 Time Allotment:

1.                  All speeches shall be a MINIMUM of three (3) minutes and a MAXIMUM of seven (7) minutes.

2.                  It is the duty of the timekeeper to inform the judge after the speaker is finished when a speech has run UNDER or OVER time.

3.                  Overtime speeches will be allowed to finish.  A deduction of one (1) point is mandatory for an under time or overtime speech.

4.                  Time is determined to start with the first word or action of a participant’s speech.  Time ends with the final word, gesture, pose, or “Thank You.”  Time does NOT include the writing of names, numbers, or letters on the board.

B.         Timekeeper:

1.                  Each host school shall provide one well-trained timekeeper for each room used for    speeches at the meet.

2.                  Timekeeper Duties:

a.                   Inform the judge when a speech has run under the minimum of 3 minutes or over the maximum of 7 minutes.

b.                  Record the time of each speech on the Time Sheet.

c.                   Take completed ballots to the office in a sealed envelope along with the Time Sheet. 

d.                  After the ballots are cut apart in the office, the Timekeeper will return the top portion of the ballots to the judge for distribution.

e.                   Arrange the room in proper order after each round of speeches.

C.                 The Judge:

1.                  Each school shall provide an eligible judge for each meet.  If a school sends 2 judges to the meet to split the judging, both judges must attend the morning Judge’s Meeting.

2.                  Judge Duties:

a.       Call roll of participants.

b.      Oversee timekeeping.

c.       Fairly evaluate and comment upon speeches

d.      Send entire ballot to office after judging the last speaker.

e.       Refuse entry of any unauthorized person after the round bell has rung.

f.        Do not permit anyone to leave the room during the round.

g.       Maintain order in the room during the entire round.

h.       Do not discuss scores with participants.

i.         Do not offer coaching suggestions to participants.

D.                 Stopwatches:  each judge must bring a stopwatch with them to the meet to be used by the Timekeeper.

E.                  Ballots:

1.                  Designation of under time and overtime speeches will be noted on both the top and bottom portions of the ballot.

2.                  Top section of the ballot:

a.       Constructive comments are made in the appropriate VISIBLE, AUDIBLE, and PSYCHOLOGICAL sections on the top portion of the ballot.

b.       Completed ballots are sent with the Timekeeper to the office.  The top portion of the Ballot is returned to the judge for distribution to the participants.

c.       No part of the ballot will be available for distribution at or after the Final Meet.  These are for office use only.

3.                  Bottom section of the ballot: This section will be used for scoring.  Each section, VISIBLE, AUDIBLE, and PSYCHOLOGICAL is scored in a range from 1 to 5 points.  The total of the sections will be added for that round’s subtotal score.


Visible                          Audible                        Psychological                Subtotal

1-2-3-4-5                    1-2-3-4-5                    1-2-3-4-5                    ______

A 1 point deduction is made if the speech is over or under time              ______

Total score                                                                                           ______

The bottom portions of the ballot are handed out to each school in a sealed envelope at the end of the meet.  Envelopes may not be opened on the host meet premises.


Ribbons are awarded according to the total number of points earned:

            Gold – 30 points; Blue – 27-29 points; Red – 22-26 points; White – 15-21 points;

            Green 4-14 points


A.                 Judge’s Workshops are held every fall prior to the first meet.  Attendance at a workshop is MANDATORY for all new judges in the Bellarmine League.  Qualified judges must renew their certification every three years.  ID cards, with an expiration date, are distributed to all qualified judges at the end of the Workshop.  Judges arriving at a workshop more than fifteen (15) minutes late will NOT receive a Judge’s Card.

B.                 Judge/Coach Workshops are offered every fall.  Attending the Coaching section of the Workshop is strongly recommended.

C.                 Coaches and judges may consult Board members at the meets if they have any coaching or judging questions.


A.                 Each team will be assigned a number at the beginning of the year to insure impartial judging.  The team will be identified throughout the year by number only.  The school number may change annually due to the change in the number of participating schools.

B.                 Each participant will be identified by name, school number, and category letter.


A.                 No original or unpublished compositions are permitted.

B.                 Any published sources, such as play excerpts, literature anthologies, recordings, scripts, magazine articles, book excerpts, newspapers, and dramatic publication companies (such as Edna Means, Wetmore Declamation Bureau, the Consortium, and Play Inc) may be utilized for acceptable speeches.

C.                 If there is a question of appropriateness of material, then the determination of its use should be made by a consensus of the principal, pastor, and speech coordinator at the school.  Speeches should not include words or material that is inappropriate for a Catholic school environment.  The Board should be notified if suspected violations occur.  The Board will then address the concern.


A.                 The Final Meet of the year is held in the late spring.  At this meet, each school is allowed a team of only four contestants, one in Humorous, one in Serious, and one Duet Acting team.  A letter with detailed information is sent to each participating school prior to the Final Meet.

B.                 Judging:

1.                  In order to be a judge at the Final Meet, the judge MUST have judged at least ONE (1) round during the current speech year.

2.                  Judges at the Final Meet are expected to stay all day and judge both the morning and afternoon rounds.  If judges must split the rounds, both must be present at the morning Judges’ Meeting.

3.                  A contestant is judged by two (2) judges in each round of the Final Meet.  These judges do not consult with each other in scoring.

4.                  Judging criteria at the Final Meet is the same as the regular meets.

5.                  Scoring is the same as a regular meet with the addition of a Ranking System.  The Ranking System is used to break ties in scoring.  The Ranking System will be covered in detail at the Judge’s Meeting.

6.                  Ranking System:

a.       Only contestants who receive a score of 15 are eligible to be ranked.

b.      All judges MUST rank any contestant who receives a score of 15, up to a maximum of three (3) contestants as follows:

                        1st Place – 5 extra points

                        2nd Place – 3 extra points

                        3rd Place – 1 extra point

C.                 The top twenty percent (20%) of all participants in each category will receive a trophy. Non-trophy winners with a total score of 60 points or more will receive a gold “Final Meet” ribbon. All ribbons for the Final Meet will specify “Final Meet.” 

D.                 Each participant and judge must bring his/her own lunch, and the League will provide drinks and dessert.  No one is permitted to leave the premises for lunch.

E.                  Only the participants, judges, and timekeeper will be allowed in the room during rounds at the Final Meet.


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