Four UWG Students Awarded in Annual Public Speaking Contest

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Four UWG students were awarded for their outstanding skills in persuasive speech in December at the ninth annual Gibson Public Speaking Contest, hosted by the speech communications faculty in the Department of Mass Communications.

The top five contestants were selected among all current public speaking students based on their in class delivery of a persuasive speech assignment. Each contestant gave a speech of up to ten minutes in front of a large audience and three judges: Assistant Professor, Dr. Suvees Ricks; UWG alumnus and Solicitor of the State Court of Carroll County, Mr. Doug Vassy; and Professor and Department Chair for Mass Communications, Dr. Camilla Gant.

“The thing that strikes me the most about the competition is the remarkable improvement that has occurred over the years,” said Dr. Wendell Stone, speech communication coordinator and lecturer. “The students and faculty have done an excellent job of incorporating what we learn from these events into our teaching and learning in the classroom.”

“Faculty are limited in the assistance and coaching they provide the students because topic selection is a portion of their grade,” said Stone. “Students are given a wide scope in their topic selection, but required to argue for a change in policy.”

The 2012 recipients and their topics were:

• 1st Place: Christina DeMartino, “A Prescription for Death” (advocating for a national prescription drug database)

• 2nd Place: Jose Ignacio Gonzalez, “The Profession of Prostitution” (advocating for the legalization of sex work)

• 3rd Place: Elizabeth Gray, “Honey Boo Boo Goes Bye Bye” (advocating for banning children’s beauty contests)

• 3rd Place: Tia Roberts, “The Tragedy of Female Circumcision in Certain Parts of Africa” (advocating for ending the practice of female circumcision and establishing a nonprofit that helps advocate against this practice while assisting women who are seeking refuge in order to avoid the practice)

Judges ruled a tie for third place after Gray and Roberts delivered equally dynamic speeches.

The Gibson Public Speaking Contest is named in honor of Dr. Chester Gibson, who served in the Department of Mass Communications for over 20 years. Gibson, who was also the director of debate for UWG, has coached politician and author Newt Gingrich in addition to other politicians, attorneys, and judges.

“Dr. Gibson was a renowned figure at West Georgia,” said Dr. Michael Hester, dean of honors college and trans-disciplinary programs and director of debate. “He built WGC into a national debate power in the 1970s, and his leadership extended far beyond his two decades as chair of Mass Communications. From his work with then House Speaker Newt Gingrich to his extensive efforts in helping bring in Dr. Tim Hynes as vice-president of Academic Affairs and Dr. Beheruz Sethna as president in the 1990s, Dr. Gibson was an enormously important figure in the development of UWG.”

All five contestants received a plaque for their participation. The top four contestants received a gift card from McGraw-Hill Publishers and cash prizes donated by Dr. Chester Gibson and Mrs. Faye Gibson. McGraw-Hill also uses video excerpts of the speeches, recorded by UTV13, in textbook publications.

For more information, please contact Dr. Wendell Stone at 678-839-5315.