Let the competition begin

GENESIS checks in with two competitors in the 24th Annual African American History and Current Issues Oratory Contest

Kailey Blazier, Opinion Editor

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Last year, the topics were hot and the contention was real! This year, GENESIS spoke with two of the top finalists in last year’s Annual African American History and Current Issues Oratory Contest. We have a few sneak peeks on what each of these lovely ladies are doing to prepare for the competition this year and how they are feeling.

 

Sherri Greenfield-Ludwig
Senior Shamaya Bell performs an original poem at the Annual African American History and Current Issues Oratory Contest on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Bell placed third overall in the competition.

GENESIS: What are you doing to prepare for the contest?

Jahlea Douglas: In order to prepare for my speech, my goal is to write my speech within the next week so that I have almost two weeks to practice performing it.

Shamaya Bell:  I’m definitely researching a lot about Frederick Douglass to get a better understanding and really tie his life into what I want to talk about.

 

G: What made you want to enter the contest?

JD: I entered the contest because I enjoy speaking to the public and showing them that kids are educated too. 

SB: I just think it’s an amazing opportunity. It’s always been a wonderful event and a learning experience. 

Sherri Greenfield-Ludwig
Senior Jahlea Douglas introduces the “Elephant in the Room” during her speech at the Annual African American History and Current Issues Oratory Contest on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Douglas won first place overall.

G: Are you at all nervous? What do you do to kill your nerves? 

JD: I am only nervous in the beginning when I start to write my speech, but after I finish my speech and rehearse it, I am no longer nervous because I am confident in myself. 

SB: I wouldn’t say I’m nervous considering I’m in speech and theater and I’m used to speaking in front of crowds. Something I do when I am nervous is do jumping jacks or take deep breaths, anything to calm me down or focus my energy elsewhere.

 

G: When you look out into the crowd during the contest, who are you looking for? 

JD: During the contest one of the main points that you are judged on is making eye contact and so I look up a lot, but I don’t really see faces because the lights are so bright. I just see figures. 

SB: When I’m looking into the crowd, I’m not looking for anyone specifically. I try to pick at least three people to stare at in different parts of the room, just to remind myself to look at the audience and hope that not only are they hearing what I’m saying but that they are listening.