Palo Alto College Speech Department offers unique scholarship opportunity

By Delilah Perez
Pulse Staff Reporter 

Speech Professor Tony Longoria taking a selfie with the attendees of the first Palo Alto Speech Competition. Photo courtesy Palo Alto College.

Most scholarships require a written essay that explains your reasoning for why you deserve someone else’s money to attend college. Palo Alto College’s Speech Department is giving students a chance to apply for scholarships by speaking, not writing.

2018 is the second year that the PAC Speech Competition will take place. The competition will be at the Performing Arts Center Auditorium on Wednesday, May 2, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

“Not only can they win scholarship money, but it’s having to hone their skills outside of the classroom, where it’s not just you, your classmates and the teacher, but it’s a bigger venue,” said Tracey Rhodes, Speech instructor.

First place will receive $300; second place, $200; and People’s Choice, $100 in scholarship money. The coach of the student who wins first place will receive The DeLecour Coach of The Year Award. Elizabeth Ginn was 2017’s awarded coach.

The Coach of the Year Award is named for Carolyn DeLecour in honor of her 25 plus years of service and leadership at Palo Alto College. DeLecour retired in August 2017, and the Speech Department faculty wanted to honor her service with something meaningful.

Palo Alto students who are currently enrolled or who were in a Speech class in the Fall semester can enter the PAC Speech Competition. Speech professors may also personally recommend that you get involved with this event to showcase your talent. It’s also something that students can put on their resumes.

“It’s an experience that you can’t get unless you do it,” said Rhodes.

Competitors are encouraged to give speeches that they have already given in their Speech classes. Different instructors will have certain topics that concern public issues they want their students to talk about, so students cover a variety of topics in the competition.

Students will need to follow a certain outline on how the speech should be structured in order to win the competition. Last year’s competition speech topics consisted of suicide prevention, overcoming procrastination, problems with the prison system and bone marrow transplants.

Tony Longoria is one of the lead organizers of the PAC Speech Competition, and he is also a Speech professor here on campus. Longoria participated in a Speech Competition when he attended Texas State University in 2004, then he started to kick around the idea with other Speech faculty about creating Palo Alto’s own competition.

Bryan Campa, who is one of the 44 students who competed last year, won the People’s Choice Award. Campa, one of Longoria’s former students, was awarded $100 for his speech, and he used the money toward his next semester’s tuition.

Campa gave a persuasive speech at last year’s competition. He said he has a passion for the topic, which is suicide prevention. Campa didn’t want to talk about something that he wasn’t passionate about.

“The whole goal was to get your audience to do something,” Campa said.

To register for the competition, students need to be recommended by their Speech instructor. If students are interested but did not receive a recommendation, they can contact Tracey Rhodes directly.