Contestants from the 2017 Speech Day competition (Photo: Mark Cassello).
Students and faculty pile into the Barb Goodman “Blackbox” Theater. A podium adorned with CCSJ’s logo stands alone in the spotlight. A student reaches out and selects her topic—the “Speech Day” competition has begun.
Speech Day has become a regular event at the annual Humanities Festival. It originated in 2014 when CCSJ brought back its public speaking class.
“We wanted to find to a way to have students speak in front of a real audience and outside of the artificial experience of a classroom,” explained Professor Mark Cassello, who co-hosts Speech Day with Professor Jennifer Young.
The theme of this year’s Humanities Festival is “rebellion,” and the topics for the event reflect this theme. The questions this year are:
Students are allowed to formulate possible responses to these questions ahead of time, but they are not allowed to memorize their speech or use notes.
“They draw one of the three topics at random, and then must deliver their speeches extemporaneously,” said Cassello. “The winner is chosen using an applause meter that measures the sound pressure levels of the audience’s applause.”
The top three contestants compete in a final, elimination round. The winner will receive a $50 gift card and the runners up will receive other prizes. Anyone interested in participating can contact Professor Cassello at email@example.com.
Speech Day takes place on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. in the Barb Goodman “Blackbox” Theater.
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