Students Compete in Speech Contest


News Writer

Twenty-four students were dressed to impress and perform for The Center for Public Speaking’s biannual fall 2015 All-Campus Speech Contest on Thursday, November 5.. Students were split into two separate rooms to present their speeches to four judges and a crowd.

Among the speakers was Briana Mansour, a senior psychology major with a minor in speech.  Mansour’s speech, Make-A-Wish: Game Changer, discussed the benefits that the Make-A-Wish foundation has brought to children with terminal diseases and their families by providing them with the opportunity to fulfill the child’s wish.

Mansour’s younger cousin, Cody Frost, was diagnosed with a terminal disease at the age of one. This summer, she accompanied her aunt and uncle and their family to Hawaii on behalf of her cousin’s wish to see a live volcano. Her speech reflected the impact it has had on her and her family.

“I like being able to share stories and give people new perspectives and new ideas to educate others,” Mansour said.  “[Make-A-Wish Foundation] is a wonderful organization that gives hopes to children’s fears.”

Mansour participated in the All-Campus Speech Contest her freshman year and wanted to finish off her last semester as a senior by presenting one last speech.

London Carpenter, a sophomore biology major and vice president of the Speech and Debate club presented her speech, “The Truth about Mulan,” to share her passion for history and culture to the UT community.

“I have a fear of public speaking,” Carpenter said, “I put myself in situations like this so even as afraid as I am, when I finish [my speech], I feel great.”

Carpenter said the benefits of public speaking will prepare her for her whatever her future career will be.  “If I have a grasp on public speaking, I’ll be ahead in life.”

The event was broken up into two separate rounds. The top three speakers from each room of the first round were selected to then present their speech amongst all eight judges in the final round.  Volunteer judges included a variety of UT and USF professors.

Dr. Juliane Mora headed the event for this first time this semester, which was fully sponsored and funded by the Department of Speech, Theatre and Dance. Red Bull also sponsored the event, providing winners with its products as prizes.

Eliana Alvarez Abasto’s speech, Monotheism- The Belief in Three Gods, came in first place, winning $250.  Robert Mutagwaba placed second, received $150 with his speech, Privilege, and Max-Olivier Bros came in third place, receiving $100 in cash for his speech, How to be a Good Passenger.

Mora has thoughts of expanding the competition and rounds with the growing interest of students, possibly in the future making it multiple day event.  

The Center for Public Speaking, located in Edison 128, started the event in 2006, hosting it every semester.  The center also provides services to all students, from speech topic selection, to outlining, to creating speech visual aids.  The center will even videotape students practicing their speeches and review it with them.

“Your communication skills are the key to your future, so take every opportunity to improve them now,” Mora said.

Lainey Loudon can be reached at

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