NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

NECC Hosts First Speechapalooza

NECC’s first Speechapalooza event took place on Wednesday, April 8 in the Spurk building. The event was planned and promoted by Professor Amy Callahan’s Principles of Public Relations class.

Speechapoolza is a public speaking event that promotes student empowerment and gives student speakers the opportunity to present their work done in previous classes at NECC.

Professor Amy Callahan created this event because she wanted a chance to showcase the inspiring work her students do in public speaking and public presentation classes at NECC.

“I wanted to create a venue to celebrate these students and allow them to share their work with a larger audience,” said Callahan.

Students who participated in Speechapalooza gave five to ten minute presentations on various topics. Some of these topics included, the history of the chocolate chip cookie, sexualized images of women in media and graffiti as propaganda.

Shaina Richards, communication major at NECC, spoke about sexualized images of women in media.

“Getting the opportunity to speak in front of a larger group of people than I previously have in class settings was exciting and nerve-racking. One of my personal goals has become to improve my public speaking skills, and this was a great opportunity for me to be able to do that,” said Richards.

Being able to be a part of this event and speak to an audience about how the media sexualizes women was important to Richards.

“I identify as a feminist and am very passionate about women being treated and seen as equals to men. I’m probably going to continue to write and hopefully speak on this subject in the future,” said Richards.

According to a newsletter written by NECC President Lane Glenn, “An event like Speechapalooza brings you the best that colleges have to offer their communities and the world: the academic freedom, the critical thinking, and the voices of our students—tomorrow’s opinion-makers and leaders of change.”

“This event was a celebration of free speech and student voices, and I think the spirit of the event came across. It was meaningful because lots of people showed up to listen to students. In that way this event was about the importance of listening to each other — listening to young people — as much as it was about students demonstrating their public speaking skills” said Callahan.

Students and faculty can expect another Speechapalooza next year according to Callahan.