D.O.E. and Eclectic

  • D.O.E., Delta Omicron Epsilon or Debating, Oratory, Extempore was a boys' organization. Each member planned a program, presided over an entertainment, and took part in a debate. One year they gave a minstrel show and used the profits to buy books on public speaking and magazines for the school library.

    The girls' debating society took the name of the earlier organization, Eclectic. Their aim was to promote debate and public speaking, but they also had fun: social meetings in the homes of members, a party with D.O.E., one-act plays, and sometimes a novel with a chapter written by a different person for each meeting and read aloud to the group. They gave an electric scoreboard to the school and helped one year to pay for the lettermen's sweaters.

    Debate continued not only in the clubs but also as an opportunity for competition. According to the 1930 FORX, "A new activity was introduced to Central this year...Members of the debate team were selected from thirty students who tried out for places." They debated with Fargo and Jamestown, doing well but not winning state honors.

    Declamation was sponsored originally by the Extension Division of the University, beginning in 1910. In 1925, 100 students entered the preliminary contest, and the two winners took top honors in the state. Extemporaneous speaking and verse reading were other fields of interest and competition.

    For years every student was required to prepare and deliver an oration "on some worthwhile subject." This was part of the senior English course, a challenge for some, a dreaded ordeal for others. After several preliminary contests, four, in addition to the valedictorian and salutatorian, were chosen to be speakers on Commencement Day, and medals were presented by the school board to the two winners at that time. After 1929 the oration was not a requirement, but many able students chose to compete, and to this day Central High School commencement speakers are its own outstanding students.