Six students earned top honors among the 15 persuasive speakers who recently presented at the 15th annual David Jones Persuasive Speaking Contest. The contest spotlights the speaking styles and skills of students who have taken a communication class at Parkland College.
The May 3 competition also gave students the opportunity to speak in support of their favorite charity. Local as well as national and international charities were represented.
Earning first-place honors in this year's competition was Clayton Maupin of Mahomet, whose speech supporting The Trevor Project earned him a $500 scholarship. The Trevor Project will also receive a $500 donation from the Communication program faculty. Maupin explained how participation in the contest benefited him.
"What I am feeling since winning is that I am on the right path in my life," he said. "I knew I wanted to help organizations like them for years now, but I wasn't sure speaking about them would warrant any tangible help. Now, before I have even earned a degree, I am helping in meaningful ways. So what I gained was a renewed sense of purpose along with a confidence boost."
Gayle McDonald of Champaign came in second with her speech for the Wesley Food Pantry. She will receive $250. Derek Schneider of Champaign was third, with a speech asking the audience to support Heifer International. He will receive $100. The 4th- 5th- and 6th-place awards of $50 each went to Emma Gray of Urbana, who supported Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA); Madlyn Stevens of Madison, Wisconsin, who spoke on behalf of Arts at Large; and James Tackett of Hudson, who spoke on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Each year, the Communication staff chooses finalist judges who represent communication professions within the community and the campus. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Parkland College’s radio station, 88.7 WPCD FM, the staff was honored to have three judges with close ties to the formation of WPCD: Steve Brown, professor emeritus at Parkland College and one of the founders of WPCD; Gerry Brock, a Parkland College alum and the first voice to be heard on WPCD; and Dan Hughes, a longtime manager of the station. Other honorary judges included Mike Trame, Parkland's vice president of student services and Ellen Zimmerman, dean of counseling at the college.
[Image: Jones Speaking Contest winners, from l. to r.: Madlyn Stevens, Emma Gray, James Tackett, Clayton Maupin, Derek Schneider, and Gayle McDonald.]