Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Public speaking students compete in Speak-Off

It seems to be a rite of attending college to, at some point, face a large crowd of your peers as a result of an assigned speech or presentation. Many dread speaking in front of other people, but others relish the excitement.

“I truly believe that public speaking is one of the most important skills you can have,” Alexa Chilcutt, professor of communication studies, said Tuesday night at the annual Public Speaking Speak-Off.

Six contestants competed in Morgan Auditorium Tuesday night for the Oscar Newton Public Speaking Award. The group consisted of four freshmen and two sophomores, speaking on topics ranging from homelessness to the life of Will Smith. These six students, all currently taking Chilcutt’s public speaking class, initially competed against 24 other students in the preliminary round in order to qualify to compete in Tuesday’s final round.

Each of the speakers were expected to present their informative topic in five to seven minutes. The winners were decided upon by the judging panel, including Mark Nelson, vice president of student affairs and vice provost, Beth Bennett, department chair of communication studies, and Angela Billings, a professor in the department of communication studies.

(See also “Students to compete in Speak Off competition Tuesday“)

The first-place winner of the event, Steven Tice, a freshman majoring in advertising and marketing, focused his speech on the origin and success of the popular video streaming site Netflix.

“It is cool to be able to represent the class you’re in,” Tice said of being chosen from his class to try out for the event.

Tice received $200 for winning and will be honored by having his name etched in a plaque.

The second-place winner, Savannah Gardner, a sophomore majoring in communicative disorders and speech pathology, drew the audience’s attention to the importance of knowing how to communicate with people with disabilities.

The third-place winner, Dylan Walker, a freshman majoring in journalism, focused her speech on the problem of homelessness in America.

Elayna Walker, a freshman majoring in human development, said each of the speakers chose a topic that was important to them. Walker said she used the opportunity to inform the audience about her religion, Mormonism.

(See also “Forensics Council ‘show off’ public speaking skills“)

“We are able to inform about a topic that we can talk about and that is personal to us,” Walker said.

Another contestant, Paige McRae, a freshman majoring in exercise science, whose topic was her hometown of Buffalo, New York, explained the importance of the Speak-Off to her personally.

“I’ve talked to people before, and I’m a dancer, so I’ve been on stage, but never together,” McRae said. “If I can stand up here and do this, it is one more hurdle I’ve gotten over.”

However, the success of these students means far more than just a monetary prize or a name on a plaque. Chilcutt said public speaking is a skill that will take students far in life.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Chilcutt said. “Public speaking is the one skill that is going to get you hired.”

(See also “Toastmasters provide public speaking practice“)

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