First BC Impromptu Speech Contest held

Jessica Kladerman

Staff Writer

In the spring of 2017 Broward College’s BC Talks committee held its first annual college-wide Speech Contest.  Four years later in late March 2021, is their first time attempting an Impromptu Speech Contest with no planning or rehearsals as the event has gone completely remote. 

 In this three-round contest, contestants must be able to discuss each topic appropriately, develop and plan their speech within 20 seconds and deliver it with cool confidence and clear critical thinking skills.

“One thing that is revealed, is student’s language use; their vocabulary, can they articulate their ideas,” said Professor Rosena Beniste about what she looks for in each contestant.

On this year’s BC Talks committee are Professor Rosena Beniste, Professor Victoria Ng and Professor Laura Raymond from Central Campus, Professor Kimberley Kamuca from North Campus and Professor Cornelius Brownlee from South Campus.  

For the first round, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, 12 contestants were introduced and asked to interpret a photo and give the moral or message of the story within the photo.  Some students gave thoughtful analyses, one used half his time to plug various organizations he has been involved with over the years and another sounded like he was narrating for a commercial and ended up having a clever ending.  

The round ended with an audience driven voting poll while a powerful performance of Together began by Jalila Patterson.

“The mystery is killing me because I love to know and plan and have time to think about it,” said contestant Brianna Barrett about having to come up with a well thought out speech in 20 seconds with no idea what the topics will entail throughout the competition.

Eight students, including Barrett, went on to Round 2, It’s Storytime. This round was a bit more fun as contestants were given the first half of a story and had 20 seconds, again, to develop and plan the rest of the story.

Some had significant twists, and others struggled to fill in the time, though there were two or three that stood out showing clear critical thinking.  Round two ended with the second audience poll and an up-tempo piano solo by Emmanuel David. 

Camille Plummer, James Espada and 14-year-old Joshua Ostergaard finally made it to the third and final round, Speak Your Mind on Social Justice.  In this round, each contestant was given a topic of social or political injustice and must explain their knowledge and stand on the topic, as well as explain how it may directly or indirectly affect them.

“What’s your stand? What are you going to say to back it up? And why is what you’re saying important?” asked Barrett as she went through the questions one must ask themselves when discussing topics about social and political injustice.

 Ostergaard was given the topic of the Electoral College and transparently shared he was not familiar with the logistics of the topic and was gracefully given a new topic to which he made a comeback with.  Espada was given the topic of political lobbying and Plummer spoke on workplace harassment.

When the final voting poll began student, Katherine Manarang gave a moving spoken word performance called The Grain of Rice, sharing her experience being a young Asian-American in today’s society. 

Plummer’s performance won over the audience and guaranteed her the 1st place prize of a $50 Barnes and Nobles gift card. 

Young Ostergaard’s recovery landed him in 2nd place receiving a $25 Barnes and Nobles gift card, and Espada won 3rd place receiving a Broward College “swag bag.”

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

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