Speech team offers students a platform to develop advanced communication skills
The Yuba College Speech Team enables students to perform at an advanced level in public speaking and oral interpretations of literature. They have been fund-raising hard over the past few years to afford the cost of traveling to and competing in competitions. Despite the fact that there is no school budget for the team, the students remain excited and eager to compete.
That being the case, they earned enough money this semester from school shows in the theater, community performances at the Yuba-Sutter Arts in Marysville, and through personal contributions, to attend the Championship Tournament of 2015 hosted by City College of San Francisco, held from February 20 through 23.
Attending this competition were 26 colleges and universities, from Fresno to Southern Oregon. Three out of the five students Yuba College brought to the competition earned medals, and the team was awarded third best community college speech team in Northern California.
Angelica Belmontes came in third place in the Poetry Interpretation category with a piece entitled, “Not losing yourself.” Celesta Ramirez achieved fourth place in Oral Interpretation of Literature by speaking about “Dealing with addiction,” and Paige Gearhart took third place in the poetry category with a piece entitled “Bi-Racial Identity.”
Ruckle, who has been a professor of Communication Studies and the Director of Forensics (competitive speech and drama) for the past 20 years, is devoted to instilling the passion into her students for what she points out is “one of the oldest academic disciplines since the beginning of higher education.” The dedication she has for her team is not only shown by the numerous awards her team has won over the years, but also by the admiration her students have for her.
When asked what the speech team means to him, Walden explains, “Speech has always been a means of expression for me. An opportunity to show what I often felt and thought, without having to directly say anything, because I was able to communicate through the characters.” He adds “My absolute end goal would be a PhD. of Theology.”
Breckel has been a member for almost three years. She insists, “The speech team is a promise that I can do anything. No matter what it is, anytime, anywhere. My stutter doesn’t dictate what I can do anymore. I’m going to be a lawyer. Speech team has given me the communication skills needed to do so.”
“Being a part of the team, I have learned what comes from hard work. With perseverance comes success and the speech team has taught me these things,” says Angelica Belmontes, who has advanced to the finals in both competitions she has attended. “The speech team serves as a creative outlet for me to express myself, using poetry and prose.”
Students who are interested in joining the speech team can add the class Speech 4R (Speech Arts Workshop). The class is transferable and counts towards both degrees in Communication Studies here at Yuba College. In this class students choose competitive speech topics and develop platform speeches for competition and events in Oral Interpretations of Literature.
The members of the speech team are not only enjoying the experiences that the team has to offer now but they are looking to the future and how the skills they are developing will benefit their long term goals. As Monica Belmontes points out, “I am pursuing a career in criminal justice. I joined the speech team because I think that public speaking skills are essential when dealing with public affairs concerning the safety of the community.”
Another team member who is looking to put her skills to use in the future is Brittany Hamm. Hamm, who is currently enrolled in Ruckle’s speech class as well as being a member of the speech team, says she is “looking forward to performing dramatic interpretation this semester.” Currently working towards her communication degree, she adds that “the skill of communicating is very important for the nursing field,” referencing her long term goal.
The team is currently in the middle of a fund-raising campaign to earn entry fees for a tournament May 2 at Ohlone College. There is a show scheduled to showcase the skills of the team in the areas of poetry, prose, drama, and public speaking in the Yuba College theater, Thursday, May 7, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.00 for students and $7.00 for non-students. In celebration of Poetry Month there will be shows in April as well. Dates for these upcoming shows will be posted on the Yuba College website. If you are unable to attend these fundraisers and would like to donate to the efforts of this group, checks can be made to The Yuba College Speech Team.
Ruckle is proud to work with these students who show so much effort and pride in their team. She is grateful for all the support that is shown for her group, adding “It really means the world to my students who love a competition.”