On Jan. 27 and 28, Bellevue College’s Speech Team participated in Lower Columbia College’s 50th Annual Mike Dugaw Smelt Competition in the Division III category and received second place. The team also attained seventh place out of the 19 eligible schools and eight awards for individual speeches. Even more notably, the team was awarded first place and a Gold Award from the Northwest Forensic Conference.
Taking home these awards is a noteworthy accomplishment, considering that all members of the organization are new to competitive speaking.
During the fall quarter, the speech team attended 17 national and local competitions over 11 weeks, giving over 150 speeches and receiving more than 70 awards. Kimm Moore, president of the team, attributes their success to the dedication of the team and their coaches, Kyle Barber and Dr. Vicki Carnegie, for training and preparing them for every aspect of the competition.
In total, the team spends around ten to 20 hours training and preparing for their competitions. “The first step is, of course, to pick one of the events. We have 11 speech events. Then, work with our head coach to develop a topic based on that speech event that you’re truly passionate about,” Moore explains about the preparation process for each tournament competition. “Then, you start writing your speech, and it’s very similar to learning a new musical instrument where it does take baby steps, and it does take consistent practice.”
Collaboration between the team members is also an important aspect of their training process. The team members practice their speeches with each other to improve, and some also participate in partner events. Moore shares that one of the most rewarding skills she has gained from being on the speech team is verbal communication: “I learned how to communicate with [teammates], but I also tell them how I like to be communicated to, and we really learned how to work together because we have different styles and different interests when it comes to verbal communication. You learn how to adapt and how to work with people who may have different communication skills or different personalities than you. But you make sure you both succeed, which is great.”
For future plans, the team intends to attend more competitions during the winter quarter, gearing up for national speech competitions in the spring. Moore adds that the club is always looking to expand, and anyone, no matter their major or if they’re a Running Start student, would benefit greatly from joining. She explains, “Verbal communication and speech. It’s something any student or any profession can gain from, and it will really benefit them. We’re so passionate about it because we see growth within ourselves and [our] teammates and we just want to see other people grow and succeed as well.”
Find updates on the Speech Team on their Instagram, and for more information, contact head coach and advisor, Kyle Barber (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the president of the team, Kimm Moore (email@example.com).