Speech 101 students competed Friday, May 20, with peers in two categories, informative and persuasive speaking. Primary rounds took place in several classrooms around the Village, and the final round of the tournament in the Great Hall.
Speakers had five to seven minutes to speak in the tournament and were judged on the overall presentation. Michelle Silver, associate professor in communications department, directed participating students to their assigned classrooms for the tournament that started four years ago to give students the opportunity to practice their public speaking skills.
“[The purpose of the speech tournament is] to help them build these skills and build their confidence and give them an outside opportunity to practice those skills,” Silver said. “To give them an outside classroom experience and a challenge.”
The top six speakers were awarded first, second, and third place, along with cash prizes and a trophy in each category of informative and persuasive speaking.
After the first round, the finalists were announced at the Great Hall, where food and drinks were available for those who participated.
Lunch was provided for the students participating and for students in the audience. The tournament was catered by Subway, and a DJ was hired for entertainment.
Kaila Mullaney was the first place winner for the persuasive category, and was awarded $200 cash for her speech on addictive prescription drugs and how therapy pets can be used as a healthier alternative to medicine.
“It’s crazy, I didn’t think I was going to win to be honest, it feels surreal. I wasn’t even going to enter,” Mullaney said. “I just entered for extra credit points in the beginning then I started to actually like my speech.”
Nickolas Murphy received first place, and a cash prize of $200, for his informative speech on geek culture and how it has evolved into a “cooler” trend with the rise of technology advancement.
“I feel great, I actually enjoy public speaking and my teacher was encouraging me to do it and I decided to go for it and I had so much fun,” Murphy said. “I think it’s good for people to do, especially if it makes you nervous you should just go for it.”
Jennifer Rosenberg, chairperson of Speech Department, said their goal was to give students the experience and opportunity to polish their speaking skills.
“We had judges from California State University Northridge (CSUN) to come and judge some of the participants,” Rosenberg said.
The Speech Tournament started about four years ago. Before that, there had not been one since the seventies, according to Silver.
Evelina Rodriguez, was one of the first informative speakers at the tournament. Her topic was the effects social media has on relationships.
“Rather through text messages, having a conversation in person is so much easier and better,” Rodriguez said. “Talk it out. Instead of having a conversation through closed doors.”