Speech team’s verbal dexterity recognized


Eric Martinez / The Advocate

Speech team members Aman Butt and Shreejal Luitel await their awards for Persuasive Speaking at the Talk Hawk Invitational.

By Cindy Pantoja, Editor-in-Chief

With some of its top performers returning to competition, the speech team stood poised to resume amassing a collection of accolades, this time in the first tournament of the spring.

The Contra Costa College speech and debate team was awarded multiple awards during the Talk Hawk Invitational speech tournament held at Las Positas College Mar. 30, Feb. 1 and Feb. 2.

Five members of the team had the chance to showcase their work at 11 events during the first tournament of the spring semester.

They were able to bring home the second place in the informative category, a fifth and sixth place in the persuasive category and a fifth place in the poetry category.

Speech professor Steve Robertson said, even though some speeches the team participated with were brand new, the team is doing an excellent job.

“We had a couple of competitors who hadn’t had much experience before who had a pretty good showing, especially when a lot of their events were collapsed. This means they were novices going against more experienced people,” Robertson said. “I think it was a good success and a good way of starting the second semester.”

Computer science and business major Aman Butt placed second in the informative category and fifth in the persuasive category.

“I feel very fortunate because I was able to bring the best version of my speech to each of my rounds, Butt said. “

“I need to work on my diction,” Butt said. “I need to work on the way I enunciate my words. This has always been an issue for me because I come from another country and English is not my first language.”

Team President Shreejel Luitel made a comeback to the competition after months of not participating in tournaments. He was able to place sixth in the persuasive category.

“I’m happy to be back, the past couple of months have been extremely busy,” Luitel said. “I’m doing good, but there is always room to improve. I have a tendency to speak a little faster sometimes — I have to work on slowing down and work on my hand gestures.”

Journalism major Xavier Johnson participated in the tournament in the categories of varsity prose interpretation and varsity poetry interpretation. He was able to place fifth in the poetry interpretation category.

“It’s nice to get back in the flow of things after the winter break,” Johnson said. “I was able to improve my poetry piece. I made a few changes and it performed better than the last few tournaments. Clearly, the changes worked.”

Communications major Tayler Meulpolder participated in the tournament for the first time as a novice. However, she was moved to the varsity category because there were not enough novice people to participate in the Prose interpretation category.

“The experience was pretty nerve-wracking because I felt woefully unprepared,” Meulpolder said. “I’m looking forward to the future. I want to go back and observe as many other forms of interpretation and absorb as much as I can.”

Meulpolder participated by presenting a speech about sexual coercion and alcohol as a coping mechanism for a self-proclaimed bisexual woman.

“Sarah, the woman my piece speaks about, is struggling with coming out as bisexual,” Meulpolder said. “She questions her sexuality throughout the piece, and it climaxes to her discovering she’s bisexual and feeling proud of who she is.”

Even though the speech team has grown in recent weeks, it needs more participation, especially from women,

Meulpolder was the only female participant representing CCC at Talk Hawk Invitational speech tournament.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find a piece that hasn’t been done yet,” she said. “But there are also so many women’s stories that haven’t been told. I encourage more women to do this because it is really important to get the word out.”

The CCC speech team stands out for giving a voice to minority representation. However, female participation has always been an issue.

Robertson said, “We’re getting better at recruiting women in the team. Recently we had an increase of female members, but most of them are not ready to compete in tournaments.”

“We want more women and we would love to have more women on the team, but Tayler was the only one who was ready to compete at Las Positas,” he said. “We’re getting our new people ready and we’re going to be bringing them out in the force during the novice tournament in May.”

The speech team meets on Tuesdays from 4 – 5:30 p.m. in the speech Lab located in AA-219.