Students' memory power to be tested in $10,000 competition

Every child dreams of being the best of the best—being Tom Brady or Steph Curry or Lionel Messi—so for those Classical Conversations students who have earned the title of Memory Master over the past few years, you can now dream of becoming the best of the best, the one and only National Memory Master!

Hannah Tully of Vancouver, Washington, was just 11 when she won the first title of National Memory Master last year, along with a $10,000 cash prize provided by Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations. Now that NMM has been made an annual competition, who will be the next 11 or 12-year-old National Memory Master champion crowned this coming May?

The first step to earning this year’s title is for a student to be proofed by his tutor and director for this year’s Memory Master cycle. Step Two begins this Friday, Feb. 10, when CC releases its story prompt taken from any of the three cycles. Qualified students must tell a story in an interesting manner using history facts, which their parents will video. No props or prompts of any kind are allowed, whether in front of or behind the camera, and students must be standing if physically able. In order to be considered for becoming a finalist, the student’s video must be 210 seconds or less and be successfully uploaded by 11:59 p.m., EST, on Feb. 17.

All uploaded videos can be viewed and voted on by family, friends and classmates until 11:59 p.m., EST, Feb. 26. National Memory Master staff will then review the videos, and, in a third round of judging, specially selected judges will select at least one finalist from each of CC’s 12 regions, which include all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. A total of 16 finalists will be selected based on accuracy of information, quantity of history facts, creativity of the presentation and the popularity of the video. The 16 finalists will be announced on March 3.

A parent or guardian of each finalist will receive two tickets, one for themselves and one for the student, to the 2017 Capstone Cruise and up to $800 as a travel stipend. The finalist must compete in the finals on May 1 while onboard the Carnival Liberty cruise ship, cruising to the Bahamas. Additional family members are permitted to join the cruise at their own expense.

Last year’s national champion Hannah Tully was a five-time Memory Master going into the competition. Still, it wasn’t easy.

“It was really fun,” Hannah said after winning, “but it was very, very hard. I studied pretty much nonstop.”

Tom Brady, Steph Curry and Lionel Messi worked very, very hard to get where they are, and so did Hannah Tully. Who will be the next CC student to work very, very hard to become the best of the best—the 2017 National Memory Master?

Classical Conversations® is a classical education resource used by homeschoolers in all 50 states and 15 foreign countries. CC now has more than 104,000 students enrolled in its tutoring programs, which are provided by more than 2,300 CC communities. CC provides resources, guidance and a community for a Christian home school curriculum using classical education in three developmental stages: grammar, dialectic and rhetoric.

Leigh Bortins started Classical Conversations in 1997. The family-owned company is headquartered in Southern Pines, North Carolina. For more information, visit



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