Students awarded at Hyde Park Forum

Katie Huntley

Freshman music major Matthew Moak gives a speech about Fair Tax to a capacity-filled Kiva last night as a part of the Hyde Park Forum. Ten students presented speeches on current, controversial issues written for the Intro to Human Communication course. EL

Credit: DKS Editors

Images of Mother Theresa, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Martin Luther King Jr. flashed across the screen as more than 400 students, friends and family members piled into the Kiva for the Hyde Park Forum last night.

The event, coordinated by assistant professor Barbara Hugenberg and graduate teaching assistant Matt Corr, featured 10 student speakers from the Introduction to Human Communication course at Kent State.

The students, five of whom were chosen from fall semester and five from spring semester, were judged on their ability to deliver a persuasive speech. The judges included distinguished members of the community, such as Kent Mayor John Fender, Timothy Chandler, dean of the College of the Arts, and Kent City councilman Jack Amrhein.

Matthew Moak, freshman musical theater major, won the $500 first prize for his speech on the problems of taxation today.

He focused on persuading the audience to take a look at the Fair Tax Act and all of the benefits it has to offer.

Emily Cyr, business management major, took home the $300 second place prize for her speech encouraging students to continue and complete their college education.

“Don’t let yourself be one of those 58 percent of college students who drop out,” Cyr said as she closed her speech.

Brittany Stephenson, journalism and mass communication major, was awarded $100 for her third place speech on trusting the media.

Speeches were critiqued by the 13 guest judges based on a variety of specifications.

“The speech is judged on its relevance of the topic to society, the strength of the argument, the research and how it reflects free speech,” Hugenberg said.

The prizes were donated by Kendall Hunt Publishing, Great River Technology and communication instructor Evin Kleinman.

“I feel a sense of loyalty to the department,” Kleinman said. “We really wanted to promote free speech and diversity in a pluralistic university and to promote the values of the communication studies department.”

Winners from previous forum competitions were there to present the awards and pass on their titles.

The Hyde Park Forum has been off-and-on since the 1960s. The past four years, however, have been coordinated by Hugenberg.

“We are really trying to evolve it into something that has a wider appeal to the community,” Hugenberg said.

Contact libraries and information services reporter Katie Huntley at [email protected].