Students present speeches at public speaking event

Photo by Mary-Grace Byers

Bethany Doudna

Staff Writer

Students took turns presenting speeches as a public speaking exercise at the “Public Speaking: Do or Die” event in the atrium of the J.C. Williams Center 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4.

The event was planned and put on by John Walker, assistant professor of theatre, who is teaching the speech communication class this semester.

The 12 students who gave speeches came up with their own topics independently, and covered a wide variety of subjects.

Some were motivational speeches on topics such as self-confidence and the importance of getting enough sleep. Others addressed the speaker’s personal interests, ranging from a Catholic analysis of fairy tales to issues within Catholic schools, the question of whether to evangelize aliens and many others.

Walker said that he believes the exercise is a very necessary part of his public speaking class.

“You can’t have public speaking without public speaking,” he said, and commended each of his students for daring to get up on the stage.

Public speaking can be an intimidating challenge, he said, adding, “If you are in doubt of that, tomorrow, in your largest class, stand up and give a speech.”

Walker went on to say that he was pleased with his students’ efforts.

“The most important thing is that they learn to speak with their own voice, about their own topics, from the heart,” he said. “I try to teach them to present themselves well, and ‘be all things to all people’ as St. Paul wrote.”

Senior Anna Gontis, who presented a speech on fairy tales, said that she appreciated the speaking exercise.

“It was a wonderful time to talk about things we enjoy personally,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to learn to share our passions and bring people closer to God.”

Around 40 people turned out to listen to the speeches.

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