WKU Department of Communication's speech contest goes virtual
- Donna Schiess
- Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
No one expected that the 11th Biannual John Lyne Speech Contest would be conducted completely online before the arrival of COVID-19. To recognize and reward student excellence in taking the basic course in Fundamentals of Public Speaking, the Department of Communication forged ahead with video submissions and virtual judges. The WKU Forensics team, headed by Ganer Newman, judged the first two elimination rounds, and a panel of celebrity judges ranked the top five finalists. The finalists’ rankings were announced via a Zoom meeting on May 14.
Riley O’Loane, a Graphic Arts major from Louisville, won first place and the $200 prize in the contest. O’Loane said she didn’t feel she was negatively affected by the class going online, since the instructor, Dr. Donna Schiess, held biweekly Zoom meetings to answer questions and explain assignments. She said she did miss presenting in front of other students and hearing their presentations.
“I really appreciated the speech contest because it helped me feel more confident in my speaking, as in the past I had never really felt very assured about my speaking skills but winning the contest really gave me a confidence boost,” O’Loane said.
She expressed her thanks to the faculty and special guest judges for putting their time and energy into making it happen.
Second place was taken by Anna Fly of Hendersonville, Tennessee, a student of Patricia Witcher. Third place was won by Jordyn Hurley of Simpsonville, whose teacher was Gayle Allison. Two more students took honorable mentions, Laurel Philpot of Bardstown and Anthony Cabrera of Trenton, both students of Heather Strode.
“The John Lyne Speech Contest rewards critical thinking, strong argument and solid presentation skills,” said Dr. Helen Sterk, head of the Department of Communication. “Each of these supports students’ confidence, leading them to see themselves as competent persons. Developing topics of public value builds a sense of citizenship and supports community. Dr. John Lyne’s generous support of public speaking is building his legacy at WKU.”
Contact: Donna Schiess, email@example.com