Appalachian holds second annual oratory contest

Joshua Farmer

Appalachian State University’s second annual Dorgan Oratory Contest is set for Thursday, Feb. 28. This year, the theme is “Dear Mr. President.”

“I expect to hear anything from school funding to the lost generation to even increased violence to women over the years,” said Jeff Motter, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and coordinator for this year’s competition.

Last year’s theme for the competition was “Dear Madam Provost,” but this year’s theme sets the stage for a new set of speeches.

Motter said that at this point, about 10 people have requested a tryout for the competition.

“If you talked to me this time last year, we would have only had four to five people,” Motter said. “We are all procrastinators, many people jump in at the last moment.”

Junior communication studies major Kara Flowers and sophomore exercise science major Jordan Steady won first and second place, respectively, in last year’s competition.

“The winners, and those who did well, had a point, made a point and were clear, but most importantly were able to capture the audiences attention and hold on to it,” Motter said. “It was captivating.”
The top three winners in the competition are rewarded with cash prizes. First place earns $250, second place earns $150 and third place wins $100.

“Though you do get a nice chunk of cash that is not hard to like, the fact that students can express their thoughts and practice speaking to a large crowd seems to be the bigger payoff,” Motter said. “It also looks good on your résumé to say that you competed, and placed, in a campus-wide oration competition.”

Judges for each year’s competition include a faculty member, an alumnus or alumna of Appalachian and a community member to give an outside perspective, Motter said.

The competition is held in the Price Lake room in Plemmons Student Union on Thursday, Feb. 28 from 7-8:30 p.m.

“I hope that the people participating will make the public aware of what they are trying to say, have a discussion, and make people more proactive,” Motter said. “I want students to be able to refine their public speaking abilities and show what they can do.”

Story: NINA MASTANDREA, Intern News Reporter