Born with a stutter, the father of classical oratory spent years honing his skills to represent himself in a lawsuit. He implemented unconventional methods: Speaking while running to emulate the way a heart races when in front of an audience, standing knee-deep in the Aegean Sea to project over harsh wind and waves, and giving speeches with pebbles in his mouth to improve his annunciation.
The court was so impressed with Demosthenes’s arguments that not only did he overwhelmingly win the trial, but became a sought after speechwriter in the process. Later in life, opposing Philip II of Macedon’s hegemony in the region, Demosthenes rallied the Athenian troops in his three Philippics. In turn becoming the most influential politician in all of Athens, Demosthenes’s speeches were so iconic that the term, philippic, was coined as “a declamation full of bitter condemnation.”
We can all be inspired by Demosthenes’s simple yet powerful discourse. Just as Demosthenes exemplified endurance, appeal, and rhetorical perfection; so, too, do the winners of this award. These competitors have had the highest performance out of all competing debaters in a given month.
July Champion: Emmanuel Murphy
August Champion: Haylee Ann Ramsey-Code
September Champion: Gabe Seidman
October Champion: Louis Li
November Champion: Ayush Ajmani
Click here for the tiebreak hierarchy.