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2021 LiM Student Speech Contest

We had nearly 1,000 entry videos from 21 countries submitted this year! Your service-learning projects have inspired, uplifted and empowered people everywhere!

2021 Contest Prompt:

Demonstrate leadership through service as a school, a family, or an individual:

Identify a community or global need.
Complete a service-learning project designed to address the need.
Create a video to document your impact.


2021 Winners and Finalists

Check the 2021 student speech contest winners and finalists.

View Videos on YouTube

Previous Winners and Finalists

Check out other student speech contest winners and finalists selected from 2016-2020.

View 60+ Videos on YouTube

What is a Leadership Grant?

Consider ways that you can you make a difference.

The purpose of a leadership grant is to inspire and enable students to be life-ready leaders by using the grant to make a difference within their circle of influence. A leadership grant will be awarded by FranklinCovey to students who are selected as winners in this year’s student speech contest. As participants work to develop a speech, they should consider what they would do with the leadership grant if awarded the prize and submit their plans for its use during the entry-form process. The decision is up to the student, but here are a few suggestions to make a difference as a leader:

• Identify and fix a problem that exists at school.
• Donate the money to a charitable contribution.
• Organize a service project in the community.
• Purchase personal school supplies.
• Help a class member or family in need.
• Contribute to a college fund.

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Traditional Speech

A traditional speech is delivered in a format we’re familiar with. When we think of traditional public speaking events, we imagine a podium a stage, or another venue a simple, professional background.

Here are a few tips for delivering a great traditional speech:

✓ Present to an audience (optional).

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Creative Speech

Creative speeches are an opportunity to explore different ways of delivering powerful speeches on video while still addressing the audience with a clear and concise message.

Here are a few tips for presenting your creative speech:

✓ Collect signed permission forms from anyone on video.
✓ Avoid copyrighted music, logos, or other licensed content.

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Tips for a great video

✓ Ensure lighting and audio quality.
✓ Use natural hand gestures.
✓ Be confident.
✓ Use voice inflection.
✓ Deliver memorized.
✓ Speak slowly and clearly.
✓ Avoid verbal pauses.
✓ Be creative, but deliver a strong message.
✓ Ensure lighting and audio quality.
✓ Use simple video editing effects.

The Judging Process

Following the May 1, 2021 deadline, twenty (25) regional winners will be chosen by a panel of judges. The regional winners will receive a special certificate and will be featured on the Leader in Me blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube Channel.

From the group of regional winners, five (5) grand prize winners will be selected by a panel of judges using these criteria:

  • Individual – ages 5-10: One (1) grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 USD leadership grant.
  • Individual – ages 11-15: One (1) grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 USD leadership grant.
  • Individual – ages 16-19: One (1) grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 USD leadership grant.
  • School: One (1) school grand prize winner will receive a $2,000 USD leadership grant.
  • Family: One (1) family grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 USD leadership grant.

From the group of regional winners, one (1) popular vote winner will be selected by votes cast by students, friends and family through the contest entry platform:

  • Popular Vote: One (1) popular vote winner will receive a $500 USD leadership grant.

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Supporting 19 Languages

The judging process is open to students who not only speak English, but who prefer to speak in their own native language (limited below)!

✓ 普通话

(Mandarin Simplified)

✓ čeština


✓ latviešu


✓ русский


✓ Deutsche


✓ Español


✓ Монгол хэл


✓ bahasa Indonesia


✓ ភាសាខ្មែរ


✓ Português


✓ Română


✓ Nederlands


✓ français


✓ Español Europeo

(European Spanish)

✓ ไทย


✓ မြန်မာ


✓ اردو


✓ عربى


✓ English




Rules and Guidelines

The following rules and guidelines will help parents or guardians support participating students in producing a great video.

Who is eligible to participate?

Any student worldwide (ages 5 to 19) that attends a licensed Leader in Me School is eligible to participate. Parents and guardians are encouraged to assist, but the student must do the majority of the work!

Step 1: Prepare a Great Message

• Identify and demonstrate leadership through service to fulfill a community or global need, by completing a service learning project and reporting on it.
• Seek permission and/or credit the source of any third-party content referenced during the speech.
Don’t forget to film during the duration of your service learning project. 

Step 2: Determine Your Entry Category


• This project and entry video is led and reported on by an individual Leader in Me student, but the student can have help and support from their family or school
• There are three (3) individual entry categories: ages 5-10, ages 11-15, and ages 16-19.


• School-wide led – this project and entry video can be led and reported on by a classroom, a small team of students, or even an entire school


• Family led – this project and entry video is led by members of a family unit (this must be a new project idea and show how all participating members of the family were involved)

Step 3: How to Present your Results

• Think of creative ways to make the speech/project memorable, engaging, and unique.
• Maintain consistent eye contact, use appropriate gestures, and speak clearly with expression.
• Consider visuals, such as slides, posters, a unique background, or objects, that might strengthen your message.
• Memorize your speech


• The video should be no longer than five (5) minutes in length.
• Make sure you film in a quiet location (no major background noise, like traffic, lawnmowers, or other people.)
• Submissions must be in standard video formats, such as: MOV (.mov), MPEG-4 (.mp4), FLV (.flv), or WMV (.wmv).
• The video must not include third-party intellectual property or copyright-protected content, like logos on shirts or branded products visible in background.

Step 4: Submit Your Entry by May 1, 2021

  1. Videos can be submitted with a Youtube URL from your own personal channel.
  2. Complete the official entry form.
  3. Print and upload a signed release form from a parent or guardian for each student appearing in the video.
  4. Submit a .doc or .txt (or similar) file of your speech
  5. Teachers- If you are submitting entries on behalf of your students, the entry must be in the student’s name, not yours.
  6. Enter the speech via Youtube or upload speech in an acceptable video format
  7. Entry indicates participants and parents or guardians agree to give FranklinCovey ownership of video content.

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Contest Resources

Judging Rubric: 2021 SSC Rubric (1)

Parent Consent Form English | Spanish | Portuguese | Chinese

Editable Flyer Template (PPT) English | Spanish

English Printable Flyer (PDF)

Entry Submission Form

For questions or more information, please contact us at [email protected].

What is Leader in Me?

Leader in Me (LiM) is an evidence-based, comprehensive school improvement model—developed in partnership with educators—that empowers students with the leadership and life-skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.
Learn More

Franklin Covey Education