Talented speaker gains recognition
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2012 15:05
Elena Batta is only a sophomore in Middle College High School, but she has gained recognition for her natural speaking ability, hard work and preparedness.
Her friends and family describe her as shy, but when Batta steps on the stage in front of a crowd, she becomes a charismatic speaker with a natural ability to connect with the audience.
“I noticed right away that she had talent,” speech professor Marie Arcidacono said. “I could tell that not only was she going to be able to give a speech, but she was going to be able to bring in research. Research is important when trying to craft a good speech and she knew how to organize it.”
Batta’s success in speech has allowed her to build confidence and gain experience speaking in front of people.
Her friend Marisa Poehnelt said Batta is normally a quiet person, but when she gets up on stage, her personality shifts and she becomes outgoing.
“Once you get to know her she is a really sweet person, I’m happy to see her succeed,” Poehnelt said.
Part of her success can be attributed to her growing up as a perfectionist.
“I have to give 100 percent otherwise it doesn’t feel right. I am definitely a perfectionist. I want to be the best I can be,” Batta said.
She said being prepared is one of the most important parts of giving a successful speech and therefore her personality is a great asset.
“Not only does she have a great way of presenting her speeches, but she is so dedicated,” she said.
“She is a hard worker. She works so hard to improve her speech after every presentation. She practices, she puts in the time.”
Through her hard work and dedication, Batta won the first three levels of the 75th Lion’s Club Speech Contest this year.
Though she lost in the fourth round of the competition on April 22, her success in the first three rounds highlighted her natural talent for speaking.
The Lion’s Club Speech Contest is a speech competition that is open to high school students. The Lion’s Club gives students the opportunity to think critically and write a speech about relevant issues.
Former Contra Costa College president McKinley Williams is a member of the Lion’s Club and originally got CCC involved in the competition.
Williams said, “I am extremely proud of (Elena). I think that Middle College High School should be extremely proud.”
With the help of Arcidacono and the support of her family, Batta wrote a strong speech, which helped her win the first three levels of the competition.
In the Club Contest, the first level of the competition, she won a $75 cash prize. She went on to win the Zone Contest, where she competed against other high school students from Heritage High School and John Swett High School, and won $100.
After that she moved on to and won the Zone 4 Regional Contest, which came with a cash prize of $150.
Her success in the Lion’s Club Speech Competition was positive for CCC and MCHS as it highlights the speech department and the life skills it teaches.
Batta said that she would never have gone up in front of a group of people to speak had she not taken Speech 120 last fall.
Williams said, “The speech department is really exemplary in its ability to prepare students to be competitive. The experience is important to have. Students go into it prepared because the teachers and coaches do a great job giving them confidence.”
Batta is not sure what she wants to be when she grows up, but she is considering being a lawyer, which would be a perfect fit with her speaking ability. In her free time, Batta enjoys hanging out with friends, reading and acting.
Arcidacono said Batta is a hard working and dedicated student.
“I have really high expectations for her in the future,” she said.