Voices of change: IU Southeast students compete in speech competition


Kaylynn Williams

The four contestants of the speech competition with their awards.

Kaylynn Williams , Staff

The Voice of Change speech contest was held on Wednesday, January 21st at the University Center.

This was the third annual contest in celebration of Martin Luther King Day.

The top five IU Southeast speech students are elected by their classmates and a panel of judges to compete in the event in an effort to not only win a scholarship, but to make a positive impact on making the world a little more green.

Diane Reid, senior lecturer in communication studies, kicked off the event with gratitude as the room was filled with spectators that included camera crews, staff, alumni, and fellow students.

Reid stated the speeches were to be five to eight minutes long, similar to the final speech requirement in speech classes, Introduction to Speech.

She introduced Rebecca Carlton, lecturer of communication studies, who Reid titled as the organizer of the event. She then informed the audience that only four of the five contestants were able to attend.

Present to compete were Kenda Eley, Kalynn Cox, DeAnna Collins, and Joseph Olin.

Meanwhile, to ease the nerves of the contestants, no judges were announced prior to the speeches. All four speakers sat in the front row reviewing their notecards, tablets, and even facial expressions. They shared their interests with speaking and were optimistic about the competition.

Kenda Eley, who is currently studying for her second bachelors’ degree at IU Southeast, stated that her goal is to have an impact on young lives through teaching.

Her speech, titled Investments in Agriculture, informed the viewers on the many ways gardening is beneficial. Her main points were the cost, the convenience and the waste all those that do not garden face.

“You have to spend a little to save a little,”Eley said

Kalynn Cox, nursing freshman, was up next. While currently studying her prerequisites and working her way to nursing school, Cox said that she hopes to work for a local hospital and  give back to the community that got her where she is today.

She presented her speech titled Unlocking Our Future,  where she discussed her beliefs in the matter of the Keystone Pipeline and the jobs it would create if opened up. “42,000 jobs would potentially be available if this opened,” Cox said.

DeAnna Collins, theatre and mathematical education double major now in her junior year at IUS, was called to present her speech What We Remember.

Collins focuses on seatbelt safety in her speech. “On average there is a death every sixteen minutes due to a car accident in the U.S. 29 percent of these were not wearing a seatbelt,” Collins said.

Her message was clear about seatbelt safety when she said, “wear a seatbelt, set a rule for your car, and encourage others to put an end to seatbelt use neglect.”

Joseph Olin, computer science sophomore was the fourth and final contestant. The previous three speakers set the bar high for this sophomore.

His speech, Eat More Organic, enthused the audience. Joseph spoke of why organic is better in a variety of ways and perspectives. He spoke of the health of society as well as the animals. At one point during his speech he showed an image of cattle lying in their own feces. “Now that looks appetizing, doesn’t it,” Olin said.

Diane Reid and Michael Abernethy entertained the audience with slam poetry written by Taylor Mali including poems Like Lilly Like Wilson, What Teachers Make, Totally like Whatever, ya know, while the judges finalized their decisions on the winner and placements. After endless laughter, it was time to announce this year’s Voice of Change winner.

Joseph Olin won this year’s contest along with a $250 scholarship. In second place was Collins with a $150 scholarship. Third was Eley with a $100 scholarship, and fourth was Cox with a $75 scholarship.  These voices have made their positive impact for the betterment of the future. They are the voices of change.