About 70 of the 100 students enrolled in Speech 101 competed at the third annual Pierce College Intramural Public Speaking Tournament on Friday, May 15, in the Village and the Great Hall.
The tournament is exclusive to students currently enrolled in Speech 101 and consists of persuasive and informative speakers competing for cash prizes. First place in either category won $200, second place won $100 and third place won $75.
Although the cash prizes may be incentive to compete and win, associate professor of communications and host of the event Michelle Silver thinks the evolution of the students is most important.
“The goal is to provide a platform for students to be able to practice what they have learned in the classroom and bring their oratory skills to a broader platform,” Silver said. “I think it provides a perfect challenge for students to come and test their own anxiety and stretch themselves to be able to be in front of an audience that they have never been in front of before.”
The competition began in the Village with five rooms allocated to each speech category.
Competitors were ranked and every student who placed first in each classroom moved on to the finals. 10 students, five from each category, were chosen to compete in the finals held in the Great Hall.
The five students who competed in the informative category were Marlon Barrios, Nathan Hurd, Neda Kakvand, Febria Baldwin and Robert Darrio. The students in the persuasive category were Anastasiya Lisovska, Nicole Garcia, Jamie Mersola, Eloy Flores and Kirschen Sapalicio.
Each finalist had five to seven minutes to deliver his or her speech.
Darrio won first place for his informative speech about his life and role as a chef. Barrios, who spoke about domestic violence, placed second. Third place in the informative category went to Baldwin, who spoke about the island of Bali.
In the persuasive category, Lisovska won first place with a speech about rape culture. Second place was Flores, who spoke about the importance of sleep. Third place went to Sapalicio, who talked about blood transfusions and the significance of donating blood.
Darrio, first place winner in the informative category, wasn’t discouraged by the audience of students.
“It’s really easy for me to get up in front of a lot of people and speak. It’s something I have done often,” Darrio said.
Hurd, a stand-up comedian, competed in the informative category and brought the crowd to laughter with a few opening jokes.
“They told me there would be a lot of people and I figured I could get a free comedy set,” Hurd said. “I didn’t know about it, but the minute they said competition and cash prize I was interested. I eat ramen a lot because comedy doesn’t pay, so I was like, ‘I’m gonna do that.’”
Student progression is hard to notice, especially visually, which is why Silver and the communications department believe in the positive impact this event can have on students.
“As a professor, it makes us feel like we are genuinely helping students and they are going beyond any anxiety or any negative experiences that they have had and if we can be the conduit to get them over that hump and help them to feel empowered to be able to become proactive community members, it’s a win for everybody,” Silver said.