'Advocacy' Highlights Public Speaking Contest


Posted on May 11, 2017 by Joy Washington and Tiyana King
Joy Washington and Tiyana King


The finalists of the USA Public Speaking Contest are, seated from left, third place winner Faith Wheeler of Murphy High School; first place winner Siddiqah Abdullah of Murphy High School and second place winner Marie Doyle from the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science. Standing from left are USA communications faculty Dr. Reggie Moody, associate professor; Katherine Rigsby, instructor; Megan Sparks, senior instructor; Dr. James Aucoin, professor and chair; and Dr. April Dupree Taylor, assistant professor. data-lightbox='featured'
The finalists of the USA Public Speaking Contest are, seated from left, third place winner Faith Wheeler of Murphy High School; first place winner Siddiqah Abdullah of Murphy High School and second place winner Marie Doyle from the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science. Standing from left are USA communications faculty Dr. Reggie Moody, associate professor; Katherine Rigsby, instructor; Megan Sparks, senior instructor; Dr. James Aucoin, professor and chair; and Dr. April Dupree Taylor, assistant professor.

The University of South Alabama’s department of communication, the College of Arts and Sciences and Pearson Education recently sponsored its annual High School Public Speaking Contest in the University’s Student Center Ballroom. This year, there were 31 participants from five local schools. Students in the 9th-12th grades competed in the contest.

Each student created a speech centered on “Advocacy: What is a cause that I would like to fight for or already support?” Each speech lasted five minutes and was judged on creativity, clarity, organization and delivery.

"This contest for several years has encouraged the education of public speaking in local high schools," said Dr. James Aucoin, professor and chair of the communication department. "And it provides an excellent platform from which to show off the University of South Alabama campus to potential future students."

The panel of judges included 21 individuals comprised of faculty, staff and alumni from USA’s communication department and local professionals. The top three winners of the competition were:

  • Siddiqah Abdullah of Murphy High School is the first place winner and recipient of a $100 gift card.
  • Marie Doyle of the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science is the second place winner and recipient of a $75 gift card.
  • Faith Wheeler of Murphy is the third place winner and recipient of a $50 gift card.

The three finalists who received $25 gift cards were:

  • Danielle Rizk, St. Paul's Episcopal School
  • Caitlyn Bailey, Murphy High School
  • Ladi Fagbongbe, St. Paul's Episcopal School

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