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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE speech team member finishes 3rd in nationals

By Coraima Lopez/reporter

NE speech and debate team member Rafael Gonzalez won the bronze award in prose interpretation during a national competition recently.

Gonzalez and two other NE students were part of 417 from around the country who competed in the Phi Ro Pi tournament in Woodland Hills, Calif.

Being part of the speech and debate team has not only brought awards but has also helped build up confidence so speaking is not so scary, said team member Autumn Sprabary.

Connor Branach, Gonzalez and Sprabary all agreed that nationals was the best of the eight tournaments they’ve competed in this year.

“It’s a reward, and we got to travel and see new places and meet new people,” Sprabary said.

Gonzalez described the nine-day event as “awesomeness.”

The NE speech and debate team competed in a national tourney where one student placed third in prose interpretation. Photo courtesy Chrissy Green
The NE speech and debate team competed in a national tourney where one student placed third in prose interpretation. Photo courtesy Chrissy Green

“Nationals was a huge array of talent,” Branach said. “I made new friends, and I was opened up to more ideas.”

During tournaments, the students are given different categories to compete in. Platform speaking, impromptu speaking when participants are given two minutes’ time to prepare a five-minute speech, informative speaking, and prose, which is an oral interpretation event.

Gonzalez, being the longest member of the team for three years now, said he joined because he loves communicating with others and likes meeting new people. Traveling isn’t that bad also, he said. Because of tournaments, Gonzalez has traveled to California, Chicago and New York. The benefits he gained through the speech program include acting as well as getting out of his shell and being more outgoing, he said.

“Speech prepares you for multiple careers,” Branach said. “One gets comfortable speaking in front of people, and you gain skills to use in the outside world.”

Branach said he has gained the ability to think on his feet and consider possible alternate ideas through debate.

“It’s cool competing with others because you see how focused the other competitors are, and it motivates you and pushes you to achieve that level,” he said.

Sprabary got involved in the team because her mother is sponsor Lisa Benedetti’s assistant. For Sprabary, speech and debate is a “love and hate relationship.” Sprabary said her strength is being personable, but she believes she can work on learning the material faster and adjusting quicker.

The three all agree that whether a good speaker or a bad one, students should join the speech and debate team because it’s helpful overall. Speaking is a good skill, and speech is a good introduction. And even if students don’t enjoy it or are uncomfortable with public speaking, they should still try it because it’s helpful and interesting, the team said.

“I’m happy and more than excited to take on anyone willing to join,” Benedetti said. “One can overcome their fear of public speaking and becoming a better speaker and performer. Students can get outside of their comfort zone.”

Overall, the speech and debate team has done well in competitions. It all depends on the student’s goals and level of commitment, Benedetti said.

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