Lighthouse College Preparatory Participates In Speech Tournament

PNW hosts speech tournament Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 11:06 am. Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy team prepares for their first round. Pictured are (from left) Camille Fuller, Nyanna Rias, Almanta Harvey, Isis Wingard, Sonia Olavarria, Armaan Sultan and André López Speech Tourn HAMMOND — For some, preparing to compete means running drills, climbing stairs or loading up on pasta the night before a big game. For local speech and debate teams, getting ready for a tournament often requires repetitive rehearsals, learning to reinforce a message through eye contact and body language and eliminating verbal fillers such as “like” and “um.” On the morning of Jan. 15, students representing several Indiana high schools arrived at Purdue University Northwest’s Hammond campus for the PNW Communication and Creative Arts Department’s first annual high school speech tournament. Six schools participated in the tournament, including Bishop Noll Institute, Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy, Munster High School, Chesterton High School, Knox Community High School and Fishers High School. Students competed individually in dramatic interpretation, original performance, U.S. and international extemporaneous speaking, impromptu speaking, informative speaking and more. Fishers’ team placed first in the tournament, earning a total of 168 points. Knox took second place with 43 points, followed by Munster with 27, Bishop Noll with 22, and Chesterton with 18. Freshman Nicholle Vandy, who placed third in U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking and fifth in Impromptu, joined Knox Community’s speech team to enhance her future college applications and to explore her interest in politics. “I want my voice to be heard,” Vandy said. “Joining the speech team has helped me learn the proper way to express my opinion and refine the way I talk.” Vandy enjoys being able to express her political views as well as hearing what others have to say about important topics. “I think it’s good to be exposed to different perspectives because I know that people view things differently than I do, even when they only live an hour away.” Knox Community speech coach and Spanish teacher Jana Kuric believes competing in speech tournaments is an empowering experience for high school students. “Public speaking gives youth a voice. It provides students the opportunity to express how they feel and, more importantly, they get listened to by their peers and adults,” Kuric said. Artensia Kennedy, a speech and political science teacher in Gary, started a speech team at Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy one year ago. “I wanted an experience like this in high school, but there was no team,” Kennedy said. “I wanted to provide something different for students to participate in outside of athletics. I think there’s a real need for this in Gary.” Despite not placing in the PNW tournament, Kennedy and her students are optimistic for the future. “I walked into this head first,” Kennedy said. “We’re learning, watching and observing. Everyone in the speech community has been warm and inviting. We’re growing as a team, and I’m excited to see what’s to come.” “Ms. Kennedy pushes us to never give up and to all have fun and communicate. I joined the team because of her,” said junior Camille Fuller, co-captain of Lighthouse’s team. Lighthouse team captain Isis Wingard, also a junior, echoed Fuller’s admiration for her coach and for public speaking. “I like being on the team because you can express yourself. You’re not right or wrong,” Wingard said. “We’re pushed hard, but it’s fun to do stuff like this because it’s out of our comfort zones.”