Nall Speak Off speech competition awards students scholarships

The Final Six: Tite Munganga, Aaron Lytle, Kelly Lemke, Austin Heath, Niko Sims and Jossie Hicks pose with Robert Nall (middle).

Xavier Strong

Students still follow in the footsteps of famous orator Cicero more than 2000 years after his time.

Washburn students gathered Nov. 9 in Henderson for the semi-annual Nall Speak Off to deliver their speeches before an assembly of faculty and students.

The Speak Off is a competition in which Washburn’s public speaking classes select their top students to deliver an original speech about a subject of their choice. First place wins a $500 scholarship. This year, six students competed. 

As the judges deliberated, Tracy Routsong, communication studies professor, kept the audience engaged and entertained. Routsong lead the audience in performing short dances, surprising the judges with a crowd dance to hype the results as they were announced. 

Sixth place was awarded to Kelly Lemke for her speech on the effects of consumption of caffeine in the average individual’s lifestyle.

Fifth place was awarded to Aaron Lytle, who spoke on the advantages and disadvantages of being a left-handed individual.

Fourth place was awarded to Austin Heath. He gave a presentation on DJI, a Chinese technology company, and its innovative new drone designs, as well as their products’ potential applications. 

Third placed was awarded to Tite Munganga, who spoke extensively on the effects of culture shock, as well as the difficulties of adapting to life in a new country in the long-term.

Second place was awarded to Niko Sims. He used his speech to raise awareness to how climate change has contributed to the drastic spike in jellyfish populations in recent years. He also made predictions as to what our world will look like with this overflow in the species, as well as suggestions for how humans could adapt to it.

Jossie Hicks was awarded first place and the $500 scholarship award for her speech on Star Trek. Hicks spoke on the long-term influence Star Trek has had on pop culture over the years, as well as its influence on the civil rights movement.