The Cadden-Williams Prize Reading Competition is a tradition that is almost as old as the Academy. Officially established in 1922, it is a combination of several awards. The first Newton Perkins Prize Speaking Contest was held on July 17, 1858. According to a quote from the Norwich Bulletin on May 4, 1971, this is the "oldest continuous competitive activity in the history of Norwich Free Academy." The Williams Prize for Reading was established in 1869 with a fund by Harriet Peck Williams who was the donor of the Peck Library and the same family that donated the land upon which the Academy was built.
The first place winner in the competition will be the Ivy Orator for his/her class at graduation. If the first place winner is not a senior, they will reserve the honor of speaking when his/her class graduates. The first place winner will receive an award of $1,000, second place will receive $600, and the third place finisher will receive a medal and a $250 prize. The highest scoring senior will be the 2022 Class Speaker this year.