Fourth Annual Public Speaking Showcase

Dakotah Jones –


The Illinois College 4th Annual Public Speaking Showcase on Tuesday, March 22, was a huge success, as always.
The final five contestants were all extremely prepared and showed tremendous prowess in speaking; none seemed nervous or distracted by the large Kirby 6 audience. Their topics were broad, from advocating to have pets on campus to water conservation, they all equally showed their ability to speak confidently, while being able to deliver clear, understandable knowledge of their topic.
In the end, there could only be one winner, and this year’s winner was Brett Palmer, with the argument to implement ‘Social-Emotional Learning’ into school systems. He argued that children today should be taught how to express their feelings with their peers in positive ways, rather than through anger and sadness.
Palmer was extremely well poised, his intro was compelling, and his argument thought provoking. He barely looked at his notecards, and his voice never alluded to any form of un-confidence. That’s probably because he feels very passionate about his topic, “I worked in the inner city of Chicago this past summer, observing students and their inability to express their emotions properly. I learned that these kids have never really been taught how to express their emotions positively, and I feel that that needs to change.”
Palmer feels that school systems need to implement social-emotional learning into their curriculum so that kids don’t lash out towards each other in or out of school. I asked Palmer how he felt that this experience will benefit him in the future, and he said, “I believe that this will help me in the future by being able to speak in large settings, I was able to memorize most of my speech, and not be too intimidated by the crowd, I felt in the moment, and I look forward to having that feeling again.”
There was a panel of four judges who scored each contestant individually and then got a total. In regards to determining a winner, Richard Lurkins, one of the judges, said, “I personally look for the little things. Eye contact, body posture, voice projection, etc. I also love a great intro and conclusion. We collectively felt Palmer did all these things the best equally.”
Larkins said, “IC’s Communication Department is deeply rooted in rhetoric, so this event really lets us come back to the roots of the department’s core values.”
Dr. Kallia Wright, the director of the event, and junior Brianna Klein kept the large audience involved by asking questions about the contestants in between each speech. The crowd was very engaged and brought a lot of energy to the event. Senior Henry Randall said, “I love this event. I come every year, it’s always fun to watch who wins because it’s always so close.” Sophomore Kaitlyn Prehoda said, “I really enjoyed the event, it’s awesome seeing them get up there and speak so confidently, and that’s hard because there was a lot of people here tonight, but they didn’t seem intimidated by it.”
Overall it was a great event that really showcased a large pool of talent, from the contestants to their professors who taught them how to be able to deliver such a speech. The contestants, Brett Palmer, 1st, Keyshaunna Moon, 2nd, Naomi Neimann, 3rd, Hailey Philips, 4th and Cheri Michelich, 5th, did a phenomenal job, and it’s no surprise that the judges took the longest deliberation time in the history of the event. Make sure that if you missed it this year, mark your calendars for next year; I promise you don’t want to miss it!




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