The Calvin Coolidge Challenge

On September 19, 1928, President Coolidge left Washington, D.C., for Vermont to view the damage and reconstruction resulting from the flood of 1927. On September 21, 1928, he gave a heartfelt address to onlookers.  At just 290 words, the speech is brief yet powerful and contains the often quoted phrase by which it has come to be known, “Vermont is a State I Love.”

Almost 100 years later, the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation is issuing a challenge to 8th graders across the state of Vermont: Can you recite Coolidge’s speech from memory? Click to download a one-page PDF of Vermont is a State I Love.

Step Up to the Challenge

To accept the challenge, familiarize yourself with the speech and memorize it. Next, with at least one adult (e.g., a parent, guardian, or teacher) attesting to your feat and acting as a witness, record yourself on video reciting the speech–without referring to any notes or receiving any assistance. Finally, upload your video and fill out our submission form to let us know that you have completed the challenge.

Rules & Prizes

The Calvin Coolidge Challenge is open to all 8th grade students in the state of Vermont. Every student who successfully completes the challenge will receive a special prize, along with an invitation to come to the Coolidge historic site in Plymouth Notch, VT, for a special ceremony at a date to be determined. The challenge will be open from November 26th, 2020, until April 30th, 2021, so start memorizing now and get your submission in soon!

Memorization Tips

Tips on memorizing the speech:

  • Silently read the speech slowly several times and understand what is being said.
  • Practice reading the speech out loud.
  • Write the speech out by hand, either on paper or on notecards.
  • Visualize each of the places that are mentioned in the speech.
  • Build a “memory place” for the speech, allowing you to take a mental walk through the text.
  • Commit to memory different “chunks” of the speech (for instance, each paragraph).
  • Practice reciting the speech in front of a mirror.

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to do the challenge. The more time you give yourself, the less stressed you will be and the more enjoyable you’ll find the memorization experience!

For questions or inquiries, call 802-672-3389 and ask to speak with either Educational Program Director John Ferrell, or Speech and Debate Director Jared Rhoads. You may also write to

2021 Calvin Coolidge Challenge Entry Form

  • Be sure to give us an email address that works. If your school does not allow people from outside your school to send you email, then provide an alternative address.
  • Enter the school name below, or indicate "home school" if appropriate.
  • The Calvin Coolidge Challenge is open to 8th grade students in Vermont.
  • Upload your video file here. We can accept most video formats, including MP4, MOV, WMV, and others. If you recorded your video using a smartphone, you should have no problem.
  • Every submission must be accompanied by a signed Attestation and Media Release Form. Please download the form using the following URL, fill out the form, and then upload a scan or photo of it here.