David Jones Persuasive Speech Contest




David Jones Persuasive Speech Contest 50 to 500 dollar prizes

Contest Date: Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 3 pm

The contest theme is "Speak for a Cause". Each contestant will choose a charitable organization to advocate for. A list of pre-approved charitable organizations can be found in the Contest Application Packet.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the finalists. 1st place $500, + $500 to the winning charity, 2nd place $250, 3rd place $100, and $50 to each additional finalist.

  • Contest Application Packet - Application deadline Friday, April 21, 2024 by 5 pm
  • Participants must be current Parkland students who are enrolled in or have completed, a Communication (COM) course offered at Parkland College.
  • Students prepare and present an original 5 – 8 minute persuasive speech advocating for a good cause - their chosen charitable organization.
  • Contest date: Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 3 pm

Contact Jody Littleton for more information at jlittleton@parkland.edu or 217/351-2532


David Jones

Dr. David M. Jones

David Jones was the beloved chair of the Fine and Applied Arts department from 1988 until his death from cancer in 2002. He was a remarkable man who was a great friend, mentor, and colleague. This annual speech contest honors his memory and his spirit. He cared deeply about student success and that is why we honor David’s memory with a student speech contest.

If he were here today he would probably say to you, “you can do this—now get going.”



2023 Contest Winners




First Place ($500) Preston Bollman

  Challenged Athletes Foundation

"Not only did I get to talk about an amazing charity, but I gained confidence in myself as well. When I first heard about the contest, I never even thought about it because I was too afraid to talk in front of a large crowd. After the contest was over, it wasn’t about the money or the first-place finish, it was about overcoming my fear and allowing people to hear about this amazing charity. I wanted to spread the word about the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and that is exactly what I did. I hope to carry this confidence into any future speech and to just remember to have fun."



Second Place ( $250) Rebecca Steinbach

 Make A Wish Foundation

"Participating was not a mistake, and I am glad I followed through with the presentation. I learned new techniques on how to deliver persuasive speeches. As well as promote my non-profit organization that is in need of support. I also gained more confidence in delivering speeches when under pressure. Overall, my key take away would be, you do not have to be the best you just have to be passionate." 


A.Johnson 300x200

Third Place ($100) Abigael Johnson

 CU at Home

“Being someone who has never done any kind of public speaking before outside of school and is also taking school completely online, I was quite anxious going into this contest. However, defeating my anxiety through COM 103 and with my instructor’s help made it possible for me to advocate for a great cause and participate in this
charitable contest. I think anyone who takes COM 103, online or in-person, should participate in this contest because, while being honored is great, speaking for a cause and taking the first steps to become an advocator in your community are even greater virtues that help make the world a better place.” 



Fourth Place ($50) Hannah Null

 Earth Justice




A.Norvask300x200Fifth Place ($50)  Ashlynd Norvask

 The Up Center of Champaign County


Y.Issa300x200Sixth Place ($50) Yafa Issa

 Doctors Without Borders

"This contest has helped me get over my public speaking anxiety. The environment was so positive and welcoming which cooled any nerves I had. I have reviewed the notes I was given by the judges and it greatly helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses in regards to my public speaking skills. I have applied these notes to my most recent speech in my public speaking course and I directly saw improvement."