Speech was the first activity I joined in high school. I was always the student that would raise their hand no matter what the question was. During discussions, I was one of the few girls who would out voice the boys, time and time again. Presentations didn’t make me as nervous as they seemed to make everyone else. Joining speech seemed like a natural choice for me.
Public speaking is the #1 fear in America. Many would rather die (or at least say they would rather die) than speak publicly. It is common knowledge that it is easier to learn a skill the younger you are. Especially in our globalized world, it is important to be able to talk to and in front of others. Even though I wasn’t as deterred from public speaking as the majority of people, I still wanted to face this fear head on.
My first year in speech (a freshman), I was in Great Speeches. There are 13 categories in speech and that year, Great Speeches was probably the least popular. It turned out to work in my favor because that meant less competition. In my category, you take a famous speech from history and explain why it is important.
My first year in Great Speeches, I discussed and gave part of Maya Angelou’s 1977 Commencement Address. I actually read her auto-biography to learn more about her. The just of the speech was that we are all heroes (or sheroes) and that we should acknowledge and thank those in our lives who are.
The second year (sophomore) I also participated in Great Speeches. That year I gave a speech by Eleanor Roosevelt, What Libraries Mean to the Nation. I am a strong believer in education and reading. This was a perfect speech for me.
This is now my third year in speech. I was doing well in Great Speeches, but I was getting to comfortable. I decided to do something completely different, Humor. In Humor, you find a script or a cutting from a book or play and perform it. I have only had one meet so far this season, but I am really enjoying it. My favorite part is that everyone laughs at my jokes. The name of my selection is, “Dwarf in Tights”. I believe there is a free excerpt online and I would suggest checking it out.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Speech. If your high school has a team, try it out. You will learn a life long skill and have fun doing it, while also making new friends (as corny as that sounds). Don’t be with the majority, don’t fear public speaking!