NECC Observer

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

Journalism/Communication students celebrate free speech with free speeches

Rosie Pena gave a speech about the power of positivity.Amy Callahan

Rosie Pena gave a speech about the power of positivity.

By: Cleo Brigham

Staff Writer

Last Wednesday, Northern Essex students and public speakers alike gathered in Spurk’s Lecture Hall A to celebrate their freedom of speech as well as one of the final events held before the Spurk building is closed for renovations.

This semester marks the one year anniversary for the Speechapalooza event which is organized, promoted, and hosted each semester by NECC’s Journalism/Communication program coordinator Professor Amy Callahan’s principles of public relations students.

Speechapalooza creates a venue for experienced as well as amatuer student public speakers to engage with their classmates, while educating them about their interests. Many of the speakers at the event are currently students in Callahan’s public speaking course this semester. 

Students in the audience were also encouraged to participate by competing in a raffle, and a Twitter contest for the best live tweet at the event.

“One thing I love about teaching public speaking is it’s personally empowering,” Callahan explained, “I can see it start to transform people in front of the room.”

The first speaker, Emily Galligan gave her speech in the form of an open letter to her absentee father. She explained that although their relationship wasn’t good, Galligan thanked him for making her the, “strong, independent, and caring woman,” she is today. 

Next up was Bailey Torrissi whose speech was entitled, “Why is God Farting?” Her topic portrayed the way young children rationalize information, as well as the funny things they say.  Torrissi reflected on her experience working as a nanny stating, “I’ve just learned that working with kids broadened my mind to what kids think and how they think.”

Following Torrissi, Klinbert Garcia chose to speak on America’s unhealthy diet, especially how sugar affects obesity as well as the U.S. death rate.

Garcia explained his interest in this topic sparked from watching the documentary, “Fed up,” as well as his health and human nutrition course this semester.

He went on to say that he especially liked his topic because it affected everyone in the audience, “assuming we all want to be healthy.” Garcia stated.

After Garcia’s speech, Jackie Blanchette took the podium to explain the negative effects of standardized testing saying, “Let’s focus on extracurricular activities. Children need to be running around and getting exercise.”

Nicholas Candage followed Blanchette’s speech by addressing the stigma of online dating. Candage who met his girlfriend of over three years in an online chatroom concluded his speech by saying that he wouldn’t trade her for the world, “she means everything to me.” Candage explained.

Abe Anavisca followed with a speech entitled, “The Good, the Bad, and My Kidneys.”

Anavisca talked about his experience with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, an autoimmune disorder which later lead to his kidney transplant. Anavisca finished up his speech by paraphrasing Socrates, explaining that people need to experience the good times as well as the bad because the opposites define each other.

After Anavisca’s speech, Jim Cheng told the story of his family’s immigration to America from Taiwan; eliciting laughs from the audience when mentioning that he attempted to learn about the culture in American high schools by watching the Disney Channel movie High School Musical.

The event closed with George Plummer’s speech on the history of religious mysteries of the ancient Greek religion and rituals.