Campus-Wide Speech Contest

Written by: Samantha Cavotta

On Tuesday April 12, 2016 the annual Campus-Wide Speech Contest was held with a total of fifteen participants, eleven in the Novice Division and four in the Open Division.   The competition has been held at Ferris since the year 1988 and is still in the running.  The Novice competitors are beginner level speakers and the Open is for the more skilled speaker taking higher-level speech classes here at Ferris.  Upon arrival the contestants were split up into different rooms with their own sets of judges.  The top person in each division received seventy-five dollars and the second place winner received twenty-five dollars. The top three winners for the Novice were:

  1. Samantha Kinne with her persuasive speech on children vaccinations
  2. Carlyle Szarowica with her informative on serial killers
  3. Samantha Cavotta with her informative speech on sharks

Only two of the four Open contestants made it to the competition resulting in all of the Open contestants placing.  The top winners in the Open Division were:

  1. Paul Hicks with his speech on how the Electoral College is a flawed system
  2. Ben Blahnik with his speech on why we need to stop animal testing

As a participant in this year’s competition I have to say that giving a speech in the contest is not nearly the same as when you give a speech in class.  It is much more nerve-wracking! It does not make sense considering in class your performance is going to be the basis of a grade and in the contest you have nothing to lose.

My overall experience being in the contest, besides the panic, was quite good; all the judges are kind people who gave constructive feedback.  The Campus-Wide speech contest differs from the speech contest held in the fall, as it’s for strictly honors students. This competition was open to everyone including non-honors students.  Having a larger pool of potential contestants made it so that people going to the speech contest, and the ones participating in it were exposed to a larger range of topics.  In the room I competed we had six students and six incredibly different topics. Our range of speech topics went from the classic in the news topics such as whether or not we should have kids vaccinated and whether or not sex education should be allowed in schools, to the informative speeches on lady bugs and sharks, and then going to a speech on blind religion and one competitors first hand experience interacting with an alien.  Each speech brought something different to the room and even those who didn’t take home a prize definitely took something away from listening to each other.

Professor Neil Patten, along with the Humanities department here at Ferris, was responsible for putting on the entire speech contest, rallying the contestants, judges and audience members. When asked why the speech contests are put on each year, Professor Patten stated that the speech contests give students the chance, outside of class, to use their rhetorical skills as well as educate the campus community.  Ending the interview with Professor Patten, he said the he is “very proud for such a small school being able to fill the contests, the Lambda Pi ETA, Honors and Campus-Wide competitions”.

If you missed the speech contest this year, no worries it will be back next year and the year after that, and most likely the year after that, so be sure to keep ears open for up coming speech contest, maybe even enter!

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