2017 Speak Off Winners Announced

Nov 9, 2017

The 2017 Speak Off was held in Russell Hall Auditorium Nov. 7, where six finalists presented informative speeches originally prepared for their class, COM 123, Public Speaking.

Christian Holt took home first place and The Oscar Newton Award of $200 for his informative speech comparing and contrasting the benefits and experiences of a four-year institution and a community college.

“Winning the Speak Off was an incredible honor,” said Holt. “Competing was a lot of fun. All of the speakers were truly fantastic, and deserve recognition in their own right.”

For second place, Ben Tarkoff spoke on the topic of lying and deception, including the overwhelming presence of deception in everyday life and the way society rewards and rejects lying and deception.

In third place, Matthew Weber’s speech presented an overview of maps, discussing the history of maps, types of maps and common issues and distortions that arise from two-dimensional maps representing a three-dimensional world.

The audience was polled and selected Rolanda Turner as its People’s Choice award recipient for her speech on the importance of sleep for the health and wellbeing of the human body.

All six Speak Off finalists are eligible to compete in the 2018 Holle Award for Excellence in Public Speaking contest on April 28, which awards a $10,000 cash prize to the winner.

A full list of the Speak Off finalists is as follows:

  • Shawn Essex, Sophomore from Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Christian Holt, Junior from Trussville, Alabama.
  • Kamryn Gaskin, Sophomore from Westtown, New Jersey
  • Ben Tarkoff, Sophomore from Orinda, California.
  • Rolanda Turner, Junior from Pell City, Alabama.
  • Matthew Weber, Junior from Cincinnati, Ohio.