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32
Winter 2011
Debate Club hosts competition
Students ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’
and deliver persuasive speeches
at inaugural debate event
BY KELLEN PILSBURY,’12 AND JACKIE RETZER, ‘11
T
he School of Communication and the Arts and
Marist Debate and Advocacy Society held their
f irst annual public speaking competition, ‘Stand
Up, Speak Out,’ on Oct. 26, 2010, Marist stu-
dents ranging from freshman to seniors wrote and delivered
persuasive speeches about issues, candidates or topics relating
to the 2010 midterm elections.
As event emcee Dr. Missy Alexander, assistant dean of the
School of Communication and the Arts, argued in her key-
note address, while politics is often thought to be a distant
idea to average Marist students, the participants in ‘Stand Up,
Speak Out’ prove that assumption wrong. Participants repre-
senting the Schools of Communication and the Arts, Global
and Professional Programs, Liberal Arts, Management, and
Social and Behavioral Sciences competed in a juried prelimi-
nary round. The judges, representing faculty from each of
these schools in addition to professionals and area politicians
evaluated the speeches based on content, organization and
delivery to identify the top six speeches.
The six f inalists, Steven Velardo (High School Bridge
Program), Claire Mooney, ‘13 (political science), Jared
Grossman, ‘11 (political science), Alexis Murphy, ‘12 (com-
munication), Chelaine Eliazar, ‘13 (communication), and
Janell Robeles, ‘13 (English), passionately performed their
persuasive speeches in front of an audience in the Nelly Goletti
Theatre and three distinguished judges—Mark DeSantis, di-
rector of merchandise for Pro’s Choice; Victoria Campbell,
a Port Jervis City Court Judge; and Daryl Richards, Public
Relations Director of United Healthcare and member of the
Communication Advisory Board. The f inalists delivered
speeches about the importance in voting, legalization of mar-
ijuana, gay and lesbian rights.
The well-deserved winner, Velardo, went home with $300, a
f irst-place plaque and the satisfaction of successfully advocat-
ing the importance and responsibility of voting as American
citizens.
With an enthusiastic turnout and great participants, the
MDAS plans to continue ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’ as an annual
event.
Additionally, the event was coordinated by one of the Public
Relations Case Studies courses as practical experience in
event development and management. Dr. Audra Diers, as-
sistant professor in public relations and the advisor for the
MDAS said, “This event created the opportunity for a great
political conversation at Marist, but also gave our public rela-
tions students the opportunity to build and promote an event
from the ground up. This was a great inaugural event and we
look forward to continuing the tradition.”
Left: The winner, Steven Velardo. Right: Dr. Missy Alexander noted in her keynote address that politics can be a distant idea to some students.
photos courtesy of Audra Diers
News & Notes
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