Trio of speakers shine at speech and debate tournament
By Theresa Smith
GCU News Bureau
The heartbreaking opioid crisis in America can be avoided, according to Grand Canyon University senior Xanthia Clow. Her argument about the unnecessary prescription of opioids after wisdom teeth extraction was voted the most persuasive speech in the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensic Association Fall Championships on Sunday at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.
Along with Clow’s first-place finish, Tommee Gleason placed third in three events and Keliann Nash, a senior from Ventura, Calif., finished third in impromptu speaking as three of the Lopes’ five speech competitors received medals in a tournament featuring 38 college and university teams.
“Their hard work and dedication is paying off,’’ said Michael Dvorak, GCU’s director of forensics and an instructor of Communication.
It was Clow’s fourth first-place finish as a college speech performer, including a top finish in September.
“I emphasized how the opioid crisis is stemming from the dental field rather than the medical field in general,’’ she said. “After wisdom teeth extraction, dentists prescribe opioids rather than ibuprofen and acetaminophen.’’
Using studies from the American Medical Association, Harvard Medical School and the University of Michigan, the Honors College student successfully argued in her 10-minute time allotment that opioids are prescribed unnecessarily.
The senior from Yucca Valley, Calif., a double major in psychology and communication, was thrilled with her performance.
“I was really excited to win with a speech that I had never won with yet,’’ she said. “It is wonderful to blossom in college and be able to talk in front of people with no notes cards and no tools for 10 minutes. It is a skill I am happy I have learned.’’
Gleason, a senior from Phoenix majoring in Computer Science, placed third in extemporaneous speaking, communication analysis and persuasive speaking.
He has performed in the latter for three years.
“I have a lot of practice with it and I have been able to work with a lot of my coaches on it,’’ Gleason said. “Specifically, this one was a topic coach Dvorak brought up to me. I thought it was an interesting topic, so I picked it up and ran with it.’’
Gleason persuaded the judges that many couples aren’t financially able to support marriage.
“They end up getting married because they think they will benefit financially from it and then end up having to get a divorce because they are not able to sustain it,’’ he said.
The assumed logic is that when two people combine resources, for example renting one apartment together as a married couple instead of two apartments while dating, they will save money and afford marriage.
Gleason’s Communication Analysis topic was about how the asexual community is left out of the LBGTQ community.
“They overlook the idea that it is OK not to want to have sex or not to necessarily be attracted to anyone,’’ said Gleason, who used an artifact analysis about former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, who claimed he was asexual to try to avoid sexual assault charges.
“So the main idea was focused on the rhetorical implications of claiming that you identify with a marginalized sexuality as a way to avoid sexual assault charges,’’ he said.
Gleason’s third competitive area was extemporaneous speaking, wherein he and the other competitors are assigned different, random topics and allotted 30 minutes to gather research. Then, they are asked to perform a seven-minute speech with just one note card listing sources.
In one round he was assigned the topic of whether or not Saudi Arabia should seek political reform. Another topic focused on whether or not California should be doing more to prevent wild fires. The final topic centered on the economic relationship between China and the United States.
“I think we did awesome,’’ said Gleason, the captain of the speech team. “We brought five competitors and three of the five came up with five top three finishes. We put on a fantastic show with such a small group.’’
Nash, a psychology major with an emphasis in trauma, participated in impromptu. She was given a random quote and 90 seconds to prepare a five-minute, 30-second speech about the expanded contexts and implications of the quote.
With no notes or research, impromptu speaking requires the speaker to use their reading and background knowledge and to think on their feet to come up with narratives and examples to support the theme of the quotation.
“You have to have a wide range of knowledge for impromptu because all you have is what’s in your head,’’ Gleason said.
The next tournament for the speech team and the debate team is the Concordia Irvine Jannese Davidson Tournament on Jan. 25-27.
Contact Theresa Smith at (602) 639-7457 or [email protected].
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