By Maureen Ragner
Standing in front of a crowd and giving a speech is a regular occurrence for those who find a thrill in speaking in the competitive sense. Some may find that these kinds of feats are too daring for them, but for those who follow through, it’s only a regular part of their school year routine.
On Oct. 28-29, Bethany hosted its yearly speech competition known as the Vocal Viking. Speech teams from 20 schools, including Bethany’s own speech team, competed against each other over the course of the two days in individual events, such as prose and poetry, and in parliamentary debate.
Professor Jon Loging and Assistant Speech Coach Amanda Hauman with the help of Bethany’s speech team spent the previous week preparing for the event. These preparations included gutting pumpkins for the carving contest, cutting ballots for the judges and ensuring that visiting students would have the information they needed in order to find their way around campus and compete in their respective events. The fact that Bethany’s small campus receives enough attention for Loging and Hauman to be busy with the preparations speaks of how popular the Vocal Viking is among other, larger colleges.
“It’s always super exciting that we get our home tournament,” said junior Zeffie Woods.
During the tournament, debate teams had to discuss resolutions covering the present issues in Syria and American politics over the course of the two days, with the final round having the topic of “This House would vote third party.” Woods and sophomore Noella Wigtil went the farthest out of the Bethany team members, finishing in the octafinal round–a round that actually wasn’t required in previous tournaments.
“We had a great turnout with our visitors increasing Bethany’s population by a third,” said Hauman.
Wigtil and Woods were also part of the final round for Duo Interpretation, where two contestants perform a piece together in a similar manner of a short skit. They placed fifth overall, and were the only Bethany speech team members who made it into any final round. Despite that, however, the team was still able to enjoy themselves.
“I just really loved this tournament,” said Witgil. “It was incredible to have so many schools come to Bethany, since we are one of the smallest colleges in the area that hosts tournaments, and everyone I talked to about it told me that they loved it as well.”
People who give speeches show no fear of the stage, whether they be politicians or students on speech teams. Perhaps someday these students will be capable of moving crowds’ hearts on the public stage, rather than just expressing themselves through words on the academic one.