The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Arlington’s lack of public transport wins student $125

By Khanh Nguyen/reporter

Robert Pratt, 34, not only won SE Campus’ 11th annual Interdepartmental Speech Competition Nov. 8 but was also voted “Audience Favorite.”

The tournament, which usually occurs in the spring, gives students the opportunity to win up to $150 in scholarships by expressing themselves. Students enrolled in any speech course can sign up to compete in that semester and present a topic of their passion through an informative, argumentative or persuasive speech.

Pratt won over judges and the audience with his speech on the conundrum of Arlington being the largest metropolitan city in the United States without public transportation. As a Texas sports fan, he argued that the need for the city to implement a bus system was never more obvious than when Arlington hosted three significant sports events — two World Series and a Super Bowl — within 12 months.

Having the option of bus transit could help fans save money on parking fees and reduce traffic jams, he said. Simply focusing on financial responsibility alone, Pratt said, hypothetically, paying a $10 bus fee is wiser than a $10,000 driving under the influence fine.

On the subject of DUI, Amber Morle, 19, earned second place for her speech It’s Your Choice, But … Paying a $10,000 fine for a DUI would be considered “lucky” when compared to Morle’s description of her own experience as a victim of someone’s driving under the influence. She said the perpetrator’s choice to do so took away her own. 

The topic of drinking and driving comes up enough in family, social circles, education and the media and with so many resources dedicated to its prevention, it shouldn’t occur as much as it does, she said. Yet every minute, someone is injured, and every 50 minutes, someone dies from it, Morle said.

After she was in the crash, Morle said she lost many irreplaceable moments of “having a normal life,” including the lead in a school musical she worked hard to get. Today, Morle looks like a normal girl on the outside, but she stressed the psychological damage hasn’t healed as quickly as the physical. She still has flashbacks and night terrors.

Morle said a simple choice to drive or not drive in an influenced state of mind could be the most important decision people will make in their lives and in someone else’s.

“Life is a sum of all your choices,” she said.

Coming in at third place was Priscilla Rodriguez, 19, with Superhuman Pixie Dust, a speech on the phenomenon of tissue regeneration. Rodriguez said she was fascinated with the “extraordinary” subject matter upon catching a History Channel segment on Dr. Stephen Badylak, the leading researcher of the “dust.”

With the “pixie dust,” which is composed of extracellular matrices, Badylak was able to regrow a finger with nail and prints intact. Another experiment applying the theory healed a dog’s heart with small intestine dust that eventually morphed itself into a replacement aorta.

Rodriguez said she considered the possibility of being on the cusp of discovering the “fountain of youth.”

Shawn Sirtonski claimed fourth place with his speech on the benefits of being enrolled at TCC compared to a for-profit educational institution.

“A university is what a college becomes when faculty lose interest in students,” he said, quoting poet and teacher John Ciardi.

Cost, ethics and the legislature make TCC ideal for students, Sirtonski said.

“Education should not be treated as a business,” he said.

For-profit institutions charge more for the same quality education TCC offers without the level of personal attention TCC’s faculty gives to its students, Sirtonski said.

Other students who participated included Jessica Combs, Pokemon; Bobby King, Mormonism vs. Christianity, and Deborah Marroquin, Coco Chanel.

In Language: The Loaded Gun, liberal arts divisional dean Jerry Coats said words can uplift and depress and are memorable in positive and negative ways.

“Choose your words to talk,” he said. “They can reveal or they can conceal.”

Coats explored the motives of the way people use language every day. From euphemisms to avoiding directly addressing even the most common activities like bowel movement and sex, he moved to politicians and the media manipulating how the public feels about a subject, such as using “extrajudicial execution” versus “assassination” or “collateral damage” versus “slaughter of innocents.”

Language can be sexist and racist, Coats said. For example, “black” has negative connotations and is often associated with exclusion (“black list”), rejection (“blackballed”), evil (“black-hearted”), and seedy (“black market”).

Coats said language has power.

“When this gun is pointing at you, you need to learn to duck,” he said.

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