Our Mission

We learn through stories. We teach through stories.

Our mission is to build these skills in elementary school children so that they can find their voices, tell their stories, become confident public speakers…and ultimately change the world.



With a focus on the pre-teen, SpeechStory offers Workshops specifically designed for the 5th grade, in groups of 12 students. (Larger classes may require multiple Workshops.)

75 minute weekly classes are offered over a period of 6 weeks. Each week a special lesson is taught by the SpeechStory coordinator, followed by assigned speeches given by the students. Students are coached to run their own SpeechStory sessions through a prescribed meeting format, which includes feedback and evaluations.

5th Grade Workshops

6 weeks

every week a new lesson

Over the course of six weeks the students grow in their understanding of story structure, audience engagement and stage presence. They learn what works and what doesn’t by becoming thoughtful evaluators and supporting each other.


for up to 12 students


75 minutes

structured student-run meetings

Leadership skills develop as students share the roles of running the workshop meetings, including opening, adjournment and proper introductions.


3 speeches

covering 3 speaking projects

Students’ skill and confidence evolve as they learn to talk about themselves, tell about an event and share a story.


Add to the fun by participating in a SpeechStory Contest!


Santa Cruz County 5th grade Speech Contest

set for April 3, 2020!



WEEK 7 - Contest Preparation

The motivation and excitement builds during the SpeechStory Workshops as students prepare for an inter-school contest. Depending on the capacity of the host venue, classmates, teachers and family are invited to attend the event and cheer on the speakers. Knowing that a select few will be representing their school adds focus and teamwork for the Workshop participants.

An extra Contest Preparation session is added to the 6-week Workshop to provide specialized speech coaching and a “dress rehearsal”. Students not speaking at the contest will assist in fine-tuning the speeches and may perform functional roles or act as Judges during the event.

Current Workshop & Contest


October 2018

SpeechStory has not just improved my students’ public speaking- it has built their confidence, developed their writing skills, instilled a sense of responsibility, taught them how to be a respectful audience, and inspired them to develop their own voice through their speeches.

Quote Source / Ms. Moira Rutiz, Holy Cross School 5th Grade Teacher




Finding their voices

More than ever, students will be asked to contribute information in rich conversations. In readiness for college, careers and partnerships, speaking and listening skills are essential. SpeechStory provides the safe environment wherein growing minds may explore ideas and practice effective techniques for sharing them with others.



“I’ve always loved space, and like a lot of kids, I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. When I turned 6 years old I received my favorite birthday present ever - a kid-sized NASA space suit. My dad and mom took me to the Air and Space Museum and just let me run around from one exhibit to the next wearing that outfit. You can bet I got a lot of funny looks! I’ll never forget when a tall man dressed in a military uniform walked up to me, leaned down and said ‘looks like you might be flying one day.’ Those few words turned my dream into a goal.”


“My great-grandfather loved farming and used to say ‘I help farmers feed the world’. He had come to the United States after World War II speaking no English and knowing only one person in New York. It turned out that person was my great grandmother! He got a job with the John Deere tractor company and worked there his entire life. He started by fixing tractors and eventually helped design their equipment. Today John Deere is producing smart machines that can use data to make farms more productive than ever. I’m going to follow in my great-grandfather’s footsteps, and it will be through technology that I’ll help feed the world.”




“I think in pictures. When we moved into our new house, all the walls were white. My mom said they had a clean look, but to me they looked like lonely, empty canvases…canvases waiting for me. The first painting started in my bedroom. I painted bright colorful flowers, with bees and butterflies here and there. Then I added a jungle tree, with purple orchids and a green parrot. It made me happy to have all that cheerful art around me. Soon after, my grandma had to move into the Senior Home where all the walls in her room were white. It seemed sad to me, so guess what I did? I filled her room with joyful pictures. That was the beginning of my future business idea: Room Blooms.”


Our Partners

Meet Our Partners

Our corporate partners underwrite most of the cost of producing workshops and contests so that budget-constrained schools pay only the $250 registration fee. We expect teachers to dedicate their class time and support, we ask students to commit effort to mastering speaking and leadership skills, and we offer businesses a chance to invest in their futures.

If you are interested in helping to sponsor more SpeechStory Workshops across the nation, contact Gale McCreary, Chief Coordinator at