There is a good chance the majority of students at Yuba College have no idea that a speech team exists on campus. Even if the existence of the team is known, what a speech team really is or does is, more than often, unknown. Even fewer at Yuba College know that our speech team takes home trophies at each event that is entered, often times beating out larger and better funded colleges and universities.
When the words, “speech team” or “speech tournament” are mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind for most is someone dressed in a suit, standing at a podium before a large crowd and a few judges, reciting some boring speech about something or someone that nobody really cares about. Somebody historic, political maybe, but definitely boring.
The truth is, the speech team is far from boring. In fact, drama is the main theme of Yuba College’s Speech Team. Not the far-fetched, far from real life reality drama, but the type of drama that has real meaning. Drama that can inspire others to become part of a cause or bring to the light little known and emerging social issues to a larger audience.
A majority of the drama speeches, also known as dramatic interpretation, have a social or political theme. Many times, the social issues used in drama speeches are cutting edge and heartfelt. Competitors use acting to help show the emotion and actions of the characters of the stories that are being portrayed. Think of a solo actor, acting out poetry, prose, or novels with a small binder. Sounds strange, I know, but it is definitely far from boring.
Besides presenting drama pieces, members of the Yuba College Speech Team compete in the other side of speech forensics, the platform and limited-preparation speeches. Except for the podium being absent, and the fact of there rarely being more than five or six people in the room at one time during the speech, these are the types of speeches that most are familiar with and conjure up in their minds when thinking of public speaking.
Platform speeches are where the competitor prepares a ten minute speech based on a persuasive or informative topic. Topics range from poverty and war, to spy technology and the most current politics in sports.
Limited preparation speeches can be a way to get your heart rate up in the most unexpected way imaginable, by giving a speech on the spot. Commonly referred to as impromptu speeches, the competitor is given only two minutes to prepare a speech based on one of three to five topics given by the judge.
When time is limited, the topics are often off the wall and just plain funny; there are many winning speeches that have the entire audience either in tears from laughter, or that are a touching, and often true experiences that the speaker brings to the audience.
At the latest tournament held April 28, 2012, at Ohlone College in Fremont California, the speech team made yet another exciting showing. This was one of the larger tournaments entered by the speech team this semester with 15 colleges and universities and 160 students in attendance.
Each team member entered made it to the final round in their respective competition with four members taking home medals. Kourtnye Wilkinson took home a gold and Gurpreet Kaur, a bronze in persuasive speaking, Tucker Walden a silver in prose interpretation as well as interpretation of literature, and Ryan Nelson won gold in Interpretation of literature, while attending his first tournament ever.
Speech and communications Professor, Susan Ruckle is charged with leading the Yuba College speech team to victory at each tournament, as well as the extremely entertaining production of showcasing the speech team’s dramatic side in a show at the end of each semester.
Ruckle started judging tournaments when she first began teaching, at both Chico and Butte College, after graduating from California State University Chico with a Masters in Communication.
Hired to teach speech classes and coach the forensics team in 1995, Ruckle has not looked back since, taking numerous students to both the State and National forensics tournaments, and bringing back trophies from most every tournament.
While competing at Chabot College of Hayward, February 2012, the speech team received “Best Small Speech Team” as well as numerous individual awards by team members.
With an average tournament costing just over $2,000, and the lack of a budget, our speech team is forced to raise funds themselves. Ruckle not only gets the speech team members prepared for competing against other colleges and universities but, she also spends a considerable amount of time obtaining the funding needed for entrance fees and hotels.
A majority of the funds donated come from organizations like the Lion’s Club, or from personal donations,like that of the Yuba College Dean of Fine Arts and Language Arts, Walter Masuda, Professor Jim Trutna, and Dr. Kevin Trutna.
This semester Masuda donated $500 to help sponsor a Yuba College student that qualified for the state speech tournament in March, 2012. The entire speech team would like to thank those that enthusiastically supported the team during the Spring 2012 semester. f it were not for the kindness and support of those on campus, the speech team would not brought home the winning medals and trophies that the Yuba College speech team is known for.
Another option and less expensive, is to support your speech team is by attending the “Speech Night” at the end of each semester. Speech Night consists of the best of the team’s individual, dramatic interpretation programs and offers the opportunity for the entire campus to experience what the speech team is really about. Not to mention the extra credit that numerous professors give for attending.
For the Spring 2012 “Speech Night,” topics include racism in America, Ishi the last Yahi, relationship breakups from the male perspective, and many other topics that are guaranteed to leave you laughing, crying, or both simultaneously. Ruckle is encouraging all to attend, saying, “You need to see dramatic interpretations to appreciate how entertaining literature can be when performed.”
This year’s Speech Night will take place Thursday, May 10 at 7:00 pm in the Yuba College theater. Tickets can be purchased at either the Yuba College theater or from Professor Ruckle or members of the speech team. Cost for students will be $5.00 and non-students are $7.00. Money earned during the fundraiser will go towards helping to keep your speech team competing and bringing home additional trophies in the future. That, and you get to see Professor Ruckle turn bright red when her speech students use sexually explicit or foul language during the speeches. That alone is worth the price of admission!
If acting out your favorite novel or poetry sounds like something that you would enjoy, then the speech team is for you. If you are one of those types that stay up-to-date on each and every cutting edge issue in politics and society, the speech team is for you. If meeting new friends and travelling to different college campuses sounds like something you would enjoy, then join the speech team, it is probably for you.