UT Sounds Off Through Campus-Wide Speech Contest

Ellery McCardle

“How many of you have said, ‘I want to be famous’?” asked UT sophomore Jeff Wells at the opening of UT’s annual Speech Contest.

The participants this year put no limits on the creativity of their speech topics. Assistant Professor of Speech Christopher Gurrie coordinated the contest, which was held on the second floor of Plant Hall. Around 7:30 p.m. UT students began to pile into the classroom anxiously waiting for the event to kick off at 8 o’clock.

First-year participant Jeff Wells opted to participate in the contest to achieve experience. “I am taking two speech classes, and I am a speech minor,” said Wells. “This is just another way for me to improve my speech.”

Wells addressed the audience on the subject of “The Dark Side of Fame,” bringing forth the lifestyle of drugs and alcohol that encompass the lives of most celebrities. According to Wells, the notion of the media showcasing on a daily basis the lavish lifestyle led by celebrities inspired him to write a speech.

“Everyone says that they want to be famous, in return they are not aware of some of the pressures that come along with the job,” said Wells.

Katie Govin drew the crowd in on a more optimistic topic, “The Truth Behind Pageantry.” Govin, who actively participates in pageants, wanted to shed the stigma attached to pageants and its contestants. “I use to be against pageants and what they stood for,” said Govin. “Then I got involved and realized all the hard work behind it. It laid all the stereotypes to rest.”

UT sophomore Domonique Rivas incorporated fashion into her speech, “Denim Do’s and Don’ts.”

“People aren’t really sure what to look for in wearing jeans, whether the style is professional or unprofessional,” said Rivas. “There really are right and wrong ways to wear jeans, and I want people to know them.”

Josh Kratovil, UT sophomore and News/Features Editor for The Minaret graced the crowd with a bass guitar melody at the start of his speech. Kratovil focused on the subject of bass guitar, which he has been playing for eight years.

“I didn’t participate in the contest last year so this year I wanted to get involved,” said Kratovil.

Kratovil’s bass guitar how-to landed him the $150 First Prize. Freshman Jabari Bennett won the Second Prize of $100. Domonique Riva’s fashion guide won her the $75 Third Prize. Fourth Place went to Katie Govin, who received $25.

UT Professors Ann Coats Marie and Arrie C. Stone assisted Gurrie in the judging process. The participants were all judged on the same scale with the strength of their thesis being the most crucial aspect. The students were also judged on the deliverance of their speeches. Points were credited towards: eye-contact, hand gestures, knowledge of and practice with the material of their topics.

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