McClung Speaking Contest educates audience on global issues

UT public speaking students participate in the largest speech contest in the southeast.

On Tuesday Nov. 15, students competed in the largest speech competition in the southeast. The semi-annual McClung Speaking Contest featured five finalists who presented speeches revolving around the University’s “Ready for the World” campaign.

The speakers are all currently in Communication Studies 210 and were chosen by a precise selective process. Austin Buck, Emily Graham, Megan Vande Linde, Jinna Free and Carolee Mabe were the final five contestants who passed the test and participated in the event.

These speakers all gave their testimonies on global issues. Women’s rights, bipolar disorder, poverty, suicide and the Zika virus were the major topics presented to the audience Tuesday night. Each speaker voiced an informative speech to educate the audience on his or her chosen topic.

Just like the judges, the audience had the opportunity to rank the speakers. This was just for fun, but some students had a difficult time determining their winner, as the topics were so diverse.

The majority of the audience was students who are also in public speaking classes, and they openly gave their input on the contest.

Becca Reed, who is enrolled in a first year public speaking class, said, “it was really hard to choose who did the best. They all performed so well and all the topics were interesting. The speakers were very engaging and did a great job conveying the information.”

As the contest continued, more students voiced their opinions on the competition, expressing that they understood the fears that are involved in public speaking, as they have faced these fears in the classroom throughout the semester.

Public speaking student, Connor Druckenmiller, stated, “It’s interesting to see these speakers overcome the fear of speaking in front of such a large crowd. We have to speak in front of our class, but they have to perform in front of a whole auditorium.”

Brooke Maynard, another student, also commented on the competition, “I thought the contest was really interesting, especially because we have to do speeches as well. Plus, we got to guess the rankings and winner of the event; it let us show our knowledge on public speaking.”

After deliberation, Austin Buck, who presented “Women’s rights around the World,” won the competition. The competition concluded positively as all the speakers were awarded and ranked, gaining recognition for their hours of preparation and hard work.

Featured Image by Abby Hamilton

Edited by Katy Hill