The Next Highly Skilled Orators

DPS annual Lucia May Wiant Contest highlights writing and speaking skills

Elocution is the skill of clear and expressive speech, an obvious reason there is a popular, local speech contest named after the 19th century leader of the Dayton Public Schools' elocutionary department.

Each year, students from Dayton Public Schools grades four through eight compose short speeches and poems that include the categories of "Original Literature" and "Best Literature Selection", to compete in the Lucia (pronounced LOO'sha) May Wiant Speech Contest. Preliminary, individual school winners will compete in the finals, Wednesday, November 8th at 6 pm, Wright Brothers Middle School, 1361 Huffman Avenue, 45403.

Lucia May Wiant was a Dayton schoolteacher and head of the district's speech department in the late 1890s and early 1900s. She was a noted orator of her time, even publishing a book of quotations.

After her death in 1949, Wiant left an endowment to establish the Lucia May Wiant Public Speaking Fund. To this day, it remains a stalwart enhancement of our 4 - 8 grade students' curriculum.