Student talks her way to top honors in speech competition

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Adrianna McCain, a junior communications major, placed first in her division at a speech and debate tournament this semester and will be traveling to Ohio to compete at the national level. Photo credit: Dj Morris

A wide variety of college students draped in business attire and professional wear gathered around engaging in conversations and fighting the urge to not fall asleep.

Adrianna McCain, a junior communications major, was one of those students not only fighting to stay awake but to earn accolades at the Northern California Forensics Association Championship.

“Everyone was polite and nice,” McCain said. “I have been lucky to have a good experience with people at other colleges.”

The speech and debate team at Chico State competes at an intercollegiate level. Although it is not a physical sport, McCain compares it to one, considering the team does a lot of walking, she said.

“Speech and debate is such a wonderfully geeky thing to do,” McCain said. “The one common factor is that we are all total nerds in the best way possible.”

Speeches have to be memorized by team members, but they get to choose their own topic. Debates are based on a topic chosen on a national scale. This is one of the aspects McCain likes about speech and debate, she said.

“I perform speeches,” McCain said. “My two events were an after-dinner speech about the topic bra sizes. Then my oral interpretation prose piece was communicating miscarriages.”

McCain was not sure about what topic to choose for her prose piece until her coach showed her some examples to read. She found a heart-wrenching piece about miscarriages and was hooked, she said.

She decided to talk about bra sizes because the speech is a platform that can have a comedic spin.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about bra sizes,” McCain said. “ I felt like people were not talking about it as much — plus I got to make a lot of boob puns.”

McCain did mock trial and theater in high school and was always told she was very talkative, which is why she chose communications as her major. Her background in theater helped with her performance.

“You have to structure the speech in a way where it is funny but also relevant,” McCain said. “I had to relate the boob thing about how it affects people.”

She placed first in her division for her speech and was in a three-way tie for her prose speech.

I was excited to get into a final round for prose speaking,” McCain said. “I was so excited to see my name up there. I gave it my all in that round.”

Soon she will be traveling to Ohio because she qualified for nationals after placing first in her division.

“I’m glad I joined the speech and debate team,” McCain said. “I am getting something out my college experience.”

DJ Morris can be reached at [email protected] or @djthejournalist on Twitter.