Tournament for the talkers

Speech and debate tournament allows students to practice communication skills

By Marlene Rivas, Staff Writer

Students were given a chance to express themselves and gain a new experience with the Intramural Speech and Debate Tournament.

The tournament took place last Thursday in LA-100 from 3-6 p.m. It portrayed students’ performances, which kept listeners attentive and entertained.

Students gave their best spoken performances to the on-looking audience.

Middle College High School student Bemister Tessema said the speeches were “all over the place and interesting.”

There were four categories of speeches, impromptu, persuasive, informative and oral interpretation.

The topics presented varied completely, as did the experience of the speakers. Some gracefully presented their speeches for another time in a row, while others sweated out their first experience.

Their topics ranged from experiences and personal interests. Student speaker Fangzhou Ye discussed companies marketing themselves to the public by scanning our information from the Web. She searched a pair of shoes and almost immediately was bombarded with ads about that same shoe, which sparked her interest for further investigation.

For some students this was a way to break free from their comfort zones and allow themselves a new experience.

First time speaker Belen Macedo said she enjoyed trying out something new. She plans to participate in the next one now that she has experienced what it is like to be in front of an audience. It is not as bad as others make it to be, she said.

Speech department professor and Chairperson Sherry Diestler said many students were taking a risk and stepping out of their comfort zones, and that courage should make them proud. Other speeches came from a more personal level.

Malekah Isa, who is home-schooled and is taking general education classes, chose her persuasive speech to be about increasing punishment for people that take part in cyberbullying. She said that hearing about bullying boils her blood, which works to her advantage. Speakers should talk about something they genuinely care and are passionate for, she said.

Not only did the tournament give students a chance to express themselves and any interests, but it was also a great experience.

One participating student, Michael Petersen, said it was very educational and a great experience to be in front of peers and speak on the topics they had researched and crafted together.

Tournament judge Natalie Keller said students did well and benefited from the experience.