Speech contest awards UA students

Katelyn Freil

A speech contest held last Tuesday awarded five students from various classes around campus.

Paige Dobbins, a freshman anthropology major at The University of Akron, won the first prize of $1,000 at the UA School of Communication Speech Competition for her speech titled “Removal of the Penny from Circulation.”

“This competition has reinforced my love of public speaking,” Dobbins said. “I’ve always be really interested in politics and economics, but it’s always seemed out of the question. Winning this competition has made me realize that nothing is out of the question, so long as I’m doing what I love and speaking about what I’m passionate about.”IMG_0088

Dobbins’ speech was about how the penny is virtually worthless in today’s society and how it cost millions of dollars to keep in circulation. Her speech was one she gave in her effective oral communication class last fall.

“I had an awesome teacher, Lori Brown, who really supported me when I was in her class,” she said. “She was an unrelenting confidence boost.”

She said that she has always been a fair public speaker, but doesn’t have a large amount of speech experience. Dobbins
did attend the Jackson High School for the Arts, which is where she said she gained a lot of performing experience.

“It’s really my background in the performing arts that has giving me the confidence I have with public speaking,”
Dobbins said.

While she doesn’t plan on pursuing speech, Dobbins said she would enter another competition of this kind if given the chance.

Freshman Kathryn Russo won second place and $750 in the competition; freshman Natalie Monastra won third place and $500; sophomore Christy Hlavaty won fourth place and $250; and post-secondary student Krista Mathis won fifth place and $250 dollars.IMG_0085

Bonnie Keiper, the coordinator of the General Education Speech Program at UA, said that the competition proved to be a memorable evening. Keiper is also the coordinator of the event.

“These are five very talented students who are all great speakers,” Keiper said.

Dr. Elizabeth Graham, the director of UA’s School of Communication, also was happy with the speech contest.

“Tuesday night proved to be everything we had hoped for,” she said in an email sent out to UA staff. “Five wonderful speeches, an audience of 300+ students, faculty, community and university members, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, and of course cupcakes.”