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Students bring life to language

Annual speaker event displays oratory talents

By Veronica Santos, scene editor
On April 8, 2014

  • Robert Smith explains his dream of using 3D printing to create living sculptures in the Eddie Rhodes Gallery on March 13. Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

Students of the speech, drama and media arts departments took to the stage to showcase their talents at the Student Speaker Showcase. The event took place at the Knox Center on March 29 from 7-9 p.m.
The event began with a welcome speech by speech department Chairwoman Sherry Diestler.
The first speaker, Stephon Gilmore, performed a spoken word poetry piece. In his performance, Gilmore said, "Let's step out of the courtroom and into a classroom," asking his listeners to stop pessimism and fight adversity.
Digital film students were featured at the event with a selection of student-made public service announcements introduced by adjunct speech faculty member Hans Craycraft. Both works in progress and finished student works were shown on a projector.
The second speaker for the showcase was English major and speech and debate team member Hayley Callaway. She performed "after dinner speaking," which is a speech made to entertain. The topic of her speech was aliteracy, the ability to read but having no interest to do so.
Callaway was able to get the audience to laugh along with her speech by calling out her professors for telling her Playboy magazine is not a reliable source for information. She tried to persuade instructors to update their syllabuses by adding newer book titles to keep youth interested in reading. After the showcase, Diestler informed Callaway of a former student who asked about her speech. Diestler said the student was "so inspired."
Technical director John "JR" Morocco introduced his drama tech students, who gave the audience information on what they can learn in Drama 106 - Technical Theater Production.
In honor of the drama department's upcoming Shakespeare play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a short scene was performed, which included Liberal Arts Division Dean Jason Berner. The play will run April 30 through May 3.
At the door, audience members were asked to write a topic they would like to have turned into an impromptu speech. Three topics were chosen and those who wrote the topics won a prize.
Middle College High School student Liam Guevara was the impromptu speaker of the night and of the three topics - legalization of cannabis, movies that relate to real life and twerking, the latest dance craze, twerking, was chosen.
Guevara was given two minutes to prepare his speech. His speech focused on the social and health benefits of twerking and gave instructions on how it is done before he twerked off stage.
Two oral interpretations of literature were performed by students Diksha Chhetri and Elena Battas. Chhetri performed a poem about a woman criticized in Pakistan for being a Christian and Battas explored the idea of strong women.
Dealaundria Gardner performed a poem showcasing the development of language.
Middle College High student Marisa Poehnelt said, "Elena Battas and Dealaundria Gardner spoke to me because their performances had different vocals and acting that brought the words to life."
The night ended with a parliamentary debate demonstration. Two teams argued whether a good book is better than a good movie.
When audience members agreed with an argument by the speaker they were asked to knock on the arms of their chairs. When they disagreed, they yelled "shame."
After the debate, the audience chose the winner, siding with those who argued a good movie is better than a good book.
"I think it went really well. The (performers) have been working so hard and they did better than I've ever seen," Callaway said. 

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