Keywords: prize speaking
Graduations -- and schools -- in the 19th through the first decade of the 20th century often were small affairs and sometimes featured student presentations that demonstrated what they had learned. They were not necessarily held in May or June, what later became the standard "end of the school year."
Immigration is one of the most debated topics of debate in Maine. Controversy aside, immigration is also America's oldest tradition, and along with religious tolerance, what our nation was built upon. Since the first people--the Wabanaki--permitted Europeans to settle in the land now known as Maine, we have been a state of immigrants.
One of the first few was a prize declamation which offered students a chance to compete and win prizes by singing, reading, or reciting poems or…
… no auditorium before 1970, graduations, plays, prize speaking, proms and all manner of school productions were held at the Opera House.