There are perks to being on the speech team. You get to travel all over the country for competitions, you get to wear snazzy suits every time you perform but—there’s always a but, of course—you have to dedicate hours (on top of school and work) to meticulously craft speeches and even more hours to practice them.
“It’s a lot of intense work,” Michael Leach, speech team director, said. “I think people, when they see the performances and the showcase, I think a lot of people believe like, ‘Oh, it’s like, a few hours, right? Or like, a couple days?’ They don’t realize how much—how many hours —goes into just any one presentation. There’s probably at least 20 to 25 hours in terms of preparing that script and then I would say, double that in terms of performance.”
But as they say, you reap what you sow, so the hard work does pay off eventually.
“It’s been such a positive experience that I’ve absolutely enjoyed,” Daniel Setiabudi, a speech team member, said. “I gained a lot of confidence, a lot of public speaking skills and I gained a lot of friends that I never would’ve gotten if I didn’t join the team.”
He’s not the only one that feels that way.
Kayla Tarkuc, who has been a member for a year, has always wanted to become a better speaker. And her time on the team gave her exactly what her heart desired.
“I’ve accomplished my goal of not being so fearful of speaking in front of people,” Tarkuc said.
During this year’s Phi Rho Pi National Forensics Tournament, the team snagged five medals in total: three bronze, one silver and one gold. While winning is obviously a priority for any kind of competitive team, it’s not the only priority for the speech team.
“When people graduate from the speech team my hope is that they are better prepared to be more successful in a job interview, to be more successful as leaders in whatever profession that they choose to be in,” Leach concluded. “And equally as important that they’re better leaders and better communicators in their own personal lives.”
What’s also as important is the friends you get to make along the way, the ones who remain after the glory of victories fade.
“I…was able to meet a lot of people and I think that was the most that I got out of it,” Tarkuc beamed.
If you are interested in learning the latest competitive speaking techniques and being a part of the COC speech team, there are different ways of going about it. If you are an honor student, you are automatically part of the learning community which includes the speech team. There are also special sections for AOC students, and finally, there are open auditions for the upcoming semester.