A competitor’s eligibility for Speaking Proudly 2023 requires conformity to each of the following competition rules.


1)  To be considered for participation, applicants must reside in Minnesota or attend school in Minnesota and be in grades nine through 12 for the 2022-2023 academic year. This includes girls who graduated in Spring 2023.

2)  To be considered for participation, the complete application must be received or postmarked between March 1, 2023, and April 1, 2023. Applications must include the following items:

  • A completed 2023 Application Form available on the competition’s website,
  • A one-page document that gives the speech’s title and a summary and outline of it. This speech description must be “blind,” that is, it must include no information that would identify the applicant or her family, school or hometown.
  • A deposit of $50 (check or money order) payable to Speaking Proudly.
  • This deposit will be held and, if the applicant is not accepted to compete, will be refunded.
  • Each applicant who is selected to compete and does so will have her deposit returned to her by mail promptly after the competition. The check or money order will not be refunded if the applicant is selected to compete but fails to take part in the competition.
  • Signature of the student applicant, agreeing to abide by the competition’s rules and procedures set forth in this document.
  • Signature of the student’s parent or legal guardian, giving permission for his/her daughter/ward to participate in the Speaking Proudly competition and allowing the competition’s organizers to publicize her participation.

3)  A completed application must be submitted to:

Speaking Proudly Registrar
PO Box 21502
Eagan, MN 55121 


 1)  The Speaking Proudly Steering Committee will meet shortly after April 1, 2023, to consider applications.

2)  Basing its decision on only the “blind” speech description, the committee will select the maximum allowable number of competitors and alternates to take part in the competition at the Minnesota State Capitol.

3)  Student applicants will be informed of the Steering Committee’s decision on or before April 15, 2023.     

4)  Each student selected to compete must accept the invitation by returning the Confirmation of Participation form that will accompany her invitation. That form must be received or postmarked no later than May 1, 2023.

5)  Anyone who does not respond by the deadline will be considered to have rejected the invitation.

6)  Rejecting and non-responding students’ places to compete will be offered to alternates, in ranked order, as soon as possible.

7)  Alternates not offered a place to compete in advance of June 17 should attend the competition and will be called, in ranked order, to compete in place of a competitor who does not attend or chooses not to compete.

8)  Each student whose application is not accepted will be informed by mail and her check or money order deposit will be returned at that time.


1)  Must be a persuasive speech of not more than 8 minutes in length on the 2023 topic.

2)  Must be delivered in English;

3)  May be memorized or delivered with notecards or script;

4)  Must be the student’s own original work, crediting sources of quoted information and text used in the body of the speech;

5)  Must be delivered without use of any prop or visual aid of any kind,

6)  Must contain no information that identifies the speaker by name or school.

7)  Use of cell phones, pagers, or other electronic devices during the rounds of
competition is strictly forbidden.

8)  No audio recording, videography or still photography is permitted during the rounds of competition, except by Speaking Proudly officials.

9)  The competition room’s manager is in charge of the event in the particular room, including deciding whether or not there is adequate space for visitors during speeches.

Note: Students are urged to familiarize themselves with the Getting Started information, the Judge’s Ballot, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.


1)  Each speech will be timed by a designated tournament volunteer with instructions to hold up timecards when 7 minutes, 7½ minutes and 7¾ minutes have elapsed.

2)  When the 8-minute mark is reached, the timekeeper will stand, at which point the speaker may finish the sentence she is currently speaking. Judges will be advised to down-grade substantially any speaker who continues beyond the sentence she is speaking when 8 minutes have elapsed.


1)  Each competitor must be in her assigned seat in the Capitol by the time prescribed in her invitation or forfeit her right to compete. In the case of a forfeiture, the highest-ranked available alternate will be designated to speak instead.

2)  Each of the applicants chosen for the competition, together with any alternate designated to replace an applicant who fails to appear or declines to compete, will compete in the first (preliminary) round of speeches according to the schedule drawn up by the competition’s organizers.

3)  The detailed schedule for speaking rounds, tours, lunch and other events will be announced closer to competition day.

4)  For the final round in the Capitol Rotunda, the top three-ranked speakers will be called at random, one at a time, and must speak in the order called.

5)  Finalists’ speeches will be recorded.

6)  Judges for the final round will complete their ballots, submitting them to the competition’s organizers. Following tabulation, the third-, second-, and first-place finishers will be announced.


 1)  All competitors and alternates and their relatives and friends are invited to attend the afternoon’s final round of competition in the Capitol Rotunda and the awards ceremony, which will follow as soon as results are tabulated.

2)  Finalists will pose for photographs and be interviewed before the competition day concludes.

3)  Because rules governing the use of the Minnesota State Capitol do not permit funds to be exchanged on the premises, the Speaking Proudly treasurer will mail cash prizes–$2,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third place—to the winners within three days after the contest.