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by Elena Mendez and Jerri WhitnerStudent Contributors

Callie Chaney, first place winner.

On February 25th, Alice Lloyd College presented the 27th annual James V. Mongiardo Speech Competition.  While attending Alice Lloyd College, Mr. Mongiardo won the “School Debate Competition” and was awarded a twenty-dollar gold piece. His daughter Cecilia Hensel remembers her father reflecting on his time at ALC. She said, “My father referred to his experience at Caney Creek as one of extreme good fortune. He always felt blessed for knowing Mrs. Lloyd and Ms. Buchanan, and for the opportunities that were afforded him.” To continue this tradition, this year’s competition challenged the students to present a written essay along with their speech deliveries. Judges looked for detailed content of the written essay and a fluid delivery of the speech.

The coordinator of this event, Dr. Charles Mullins, shared his thoughts about the importance of a good speech, saying, “Audiences respond to speech presentations that are relevant to them, reflect good research, and are conducted by a speaker with fluency and expressiveness.” From good research to a smooth and creative way of delivering the speech, the contestants are often tasked with finding new ways to get the audience’s focus. Every year, the participation of the contestants and audience have greatly increased, and hopefully, will continue to grow in years to come.

Grace Driskill, second place winner.

The year’s contestants were Jaleigh Cockrell, Callie Chaney, Grace Driskill, Daniel Guzman, Trey Moore, and Emily Salisbury. The competitors were tasked with answering the question: “What does a Liberal Arts education teach you? Furthermore, explore the value of a liberal arts education in today’s world.” Generous prizes were awarded to the first second, and third, place winners due to the joint sponsorship of the event by the Mongiardo and De Filipps families. The judges were Academic Dean Claude Lafie Crum, English Professor Dr. Cindy Salmons, and Art Professor Mr. Michael Ware. The judges had a difficult decision as all the contestants did a fantastic job with their speeches, but only three could place.

For the first time, the winners of the competition were all women. First place was awarded to junior Callie Chaney with her speech “Cultivation of Compassion,” second place went to senior Grace Driskill with her speech “The Importance of Understanding,” and sophomore Jaleigh Cockrell earned third place with her speech “Girls Don’t Go to College.”

Jaleigh Cockrell, third place winner.

Grace Driskill told the ALC Marketing Department how grateful she was to place in the competition. She plans to use her prize to support a mission trip to Guatemala this summer. “The Lord has always provided for my trips through donations, but this prize money is a tremendous blessing. It will be my third time traveling to Guatemala and serving alongside Catalyst Resources International to build homes for families in need in a rural village called Santa Maria de Jesus,” she said.

Alice Lloyd College believes that good communication skills are one of the keys to achieving a successful future. Through the James V. Mongiardo Speech Competition, students express their thoughts and have their voices heard. This event would not be possible without the support of the Mongiardo family and the De Filipps family. Because of their kindness, ALC students get the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and advance forward to a great future.