Why Westminster: Rhetoric

It may be a bold statement to suggest the House Rhetoric Challenge is the best representation of what Westminster students are capable of accomplishing at the end of their education here, but it’s not far from the truth.

Rhetoric is the final stage in the Greek trivium, on which our educational system is based, and builds on skills obtained in the grammar and logic phases to teach students how to eloquently and effectively communicate the knowledge they have learned (grammar) and reasoned (logic). Beginning in junior kindergarten, we teach these skills of effective communication by having students stand in front of their classmates, make eye contact, and speak! Each grade builds on the art of discourse in learning to research, write, and speak clearly and confidently in front of a crowd. 

While students begin their formal rhetoric training in 10th grade, the culmination of their studies in 12th grade is a 4500 word thesis paper and 15 minute presentation and defense in front of a panel of faculty members and their peers. It is a truly impressive feat.  

Issued by Columba House, the Rhetoric Challenge tasks the Houses with writing and presenting a 5-10 minute speech from the perspective of the House namesakes, and will take place this Friday at 8am in the sanctuary.

Whether your student is 5 or 15, if you haven’t attended a Rhetoric challenge or Senior speech, we encourage you to come and see what your students are learning to do; we hope you’ll join us!

See the link below for the video recordings of the previous Rhetoric Challenges.

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