Oakdale Elementary Summer Speak Off

Jul 11, 2018

“Each one of you is already a leader,” said Dr. George Daniels to a classroom of 3rdand 4thgraders. “You are leaders through the research that you have already completed, and you are leaders by getting up here and presenting it to your classmates. And we’re excited that you are going to learn even more about leadership and communication in the fall.”

Eleven third and fourth grade students from Oakdale Elementary School’s 21stCentury Summer Enrichment Program have spent much of the last month researching countries in preparation for the Summer Speakoff, which paired C&IS students in COM 124: Introduction to Public Speaking with the Oakdale students.

Even while they await the opening of their renovated school in August, the elementary school students who attended classes Monday through Thursday at Central Elementary for five weeks this summer, gathered information on China, Italy, Mexico and Great Britain.

The group of students is a part of a summer program through Oakdale Elementary School that teaches them how to effectively use skills in communication and information sciences to become better communicators and leaders. Tuesday, they were on campus for a Jr. Speak-off, presenting speeches on countries they have researched but never visited.

Their speeches were judged by their classmates, as well as honors public speaking students at UA. First place among the students earns a $20 gift card to Chuck E. Cheese and, despite that added pressure, the students all looked and sounded like pros.

“We have been thinking about this for over a year,” said Dr. Lucille Prewitt, principal of Oakdale Elementary School. “We started our program with a newspaper and journalism focus, but we want to extend it school wide. Every child will have an opportunity to be a part of something involving communication.”

The program aims to include learning experiences in various fields of communication and information: journalism, broadcast and digital media, public speaking, intercultural communication, research and graphic design. To assist with the transition, all of Oakdale Elementary’s educators participated in the Global Communicators Teachers Academy with C&IS faculty in January.

Oakdale Elementary School educates approximately 325 students from Pre-kindergarten to 5thgrade. The past year, Oakdale has been closed for renovations. When they reopen on August 8, students and teachers will have access to the only public-schooled, public speaking lab in the state of Alabama, patterned after UA’s Speaking Studio in Reese Phifer.

“Oakdale Elementary School is becoming a school for global communicators and leaders,” said Daniels. “We’re excited to see the students here giving their speeches. It’s an indication of what we hope to see through the program moving forward.”