Students competed against each other during the annual Sims Public Speaking competition.
During the Nov. 8 event, students gave persuasive speeches on a variety of topics. There were three rounds, with the first in Brown Hall rooms. David Schneider, a communications professor at SVSU, gave a little bit of insight on the competition and how it started.
“The competition has been going on for three years and over time,” he said. “It’s moved from being a student club to a department event in the Sims family endowment. The students are no longer needing to raise the money for the prize.”
Schneider said about 30 to 40 students participate each year.
“They have to create a five- to eight- minute persuasive speech that’s theirs,” he said. “All students who enter the competition speak in the two preliminary rounds. We invite our alumni back to campus to judge in the preliminary rounds. We have administrators and a new set of judges for the final round of the top six speakers from the first two rounds.”
The six students in the final round were Kailey Johnston, Austin Teeple, Brittany Rubio, Jessica Davis, Mikayla Rigda and Simone Vaughn.
Vaughn, a communications senior, came in first place with a speech about mental health stigma in the black community. She won a $400 prize.
“Honestly, I just talked about mental health and how black families really don’t believe in it,” Simone said. “Anything that I do is something that I’m personally tied to.”
Johnston came in second place, giving a speech about how white supremacists are recruiting young boys to alt-right beliefs online. Her speech mentioned how older white supremacists are recruiting boys as young as 11 and getting them to blame their problems on minorities.
Davis, an elementary education freshman, came in third, presenting why secondary schools should start later in the morning.
“I think (secondary schools) should start a little later,” she said. “There’s sleep deprivation involved that has so many negative effects that this is something that needs to be changed.”