Seventh annual GHC Public Speaking Competition brings out over 120 people to compete and watch

several students standing for picture

Over 120 people showed up from all five of Georgia Highlands College’s locations on April 14th for the seventh annual GHC Public Speaking Competition in Cartersville.

The event invites GHC students to prepare and deliver a persuasive speech to an audience of fellow students, faculty, family and friends. Many students learn basic public address theory and practice in GHC’s Human Communication courses or Public Speaking courses. It is an opportunity for students to demonstrate speech preparation, verbal style, physical delivery and to build experience in front of unfamiliar audiences.

The event has three rounds and student competitors give the same speech for different sets of judges to progress to the final round.

“This competition provides students with invaluable experience. The ability to write, practice, and deliver a strong public speech for an unfamiliar audience is crucial to succeeding in most career paths,” said Steve Stuglin, competition director and assistant professor of communication. “Additionally, this process helps students learn the value of research to a well-informed argument, and the importance of meeting an audience on common ground as a prerequisite of persuasion. These skills will serve the students in personal and civic life as well as in the workplace.”

The top five finalists were:

1 – Amanda Lewis (Cartersville) – Take the Road Less Traveled
2 – Jenee Smith (Marietta) – Puppy Mills: The Best Money Maker
3 – Tadd Steffner (Cartersville) – Eat Healthy and Exercise Regularly 
4 – Luke Keeney (Cartersville) – Maintain Censorship on Television
5 – Makenzie Allen (Cartersville) – Dog Breeders and Puppy Mills

Special recognition was given to the following students in the semifinal round who did not continue to the final round:

Shanna Salcedo (Douglasville) – Discrimination in the Media
Andrew Beard (Marietta) – End to Addiction
Aarod Dodd (Floyd) – Is Drug Testing for Welfare Beneficial?
April Hughes (Douglasville) – Free College Tuition
Gage Walker (Cartersville) – Perils and Positives of Multitasking

“Our top winner this year was Amanda Lewis, a Cartersville sophomore and Nursing major, with a speech about traveling to atypical destinations,” Stuglin noted.

The event was sponsored by the Rome Area Council for the Arts, Follett Bookstore Management, GHC Student Life, GHC Student Clubs and the GHC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.


To see the finalists in action, please visit:

For more information on the speech competition: