Winning speeches scheduled

May 02, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

The fledgling speech team at Carroll Community College has earned more than 20 trophies in its first year, and eight of them decorate Kelly Flaherty's house.

"It's nice to have trophies sitting on your windowsill," said Ms. Flaherty, 19, a second-year student from Westminster. The other two members of the team are Kyle Keyser of Sykesville and Brian Hadaway of Manchester.

The students will deliver selections from their award-winning speeches at 2 p.m. Thursday to an audience in the Great Hall at the college.

Being on the speech team "helped me be a lot more confident in myself," Ms. Flaherty said, even without the trophies.

"I thought it would be an important skill to have in any field. Every job in the world has to do with communications," she said.

She joined the speech team after Assistant Professor Susan Ondercin started it last fall.

Ms. Flaherty had been considering a major in political science. Now, she plans to major in philosophy and become a professor.

Ms. Ondercin is delighted with the team's success, but will lose the students when they transfer to four-year schools next year. Ms. Flaherty will return to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., where she spent her freshman year.

Still, Ms. Ondercin is sure she'll have a team next year, and already has talked to one Westminster High School student who plans to attend CCC.

"We'll have a team. I'm committed to this," Ms. Ondercin said.

She said she hopes to persuade Carroll high school administrators to allow her to visit schools to tell students about the speech team.

"I want to let students know this is an opportunity they can pursue here," she said.

Carroll and Prince George's Community College are the only community colleges in the state with speech teams, and the students usually compete with four-year schools from the eastern United States.

Ms. Ondercin is the new Maryland director of Phi Rho Pi, a forensic association for community colleges. She said the association is trying to increase activity in the Northeast region, which includes Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Forensics "offers students an opportunity to develop research skills, critical thinking, organization and communication skills," she said.

Taking part in debates, learning to develop an impromptu speech in two minutes and writing a persuasive argument help prepare students for careers as diverse as law, education, politics, religion, broadcasting, public affairs and business, she said.

"And any other careers that require critical thinking and communication skills, which could be just about anything," said Ms. Ondercin, who has taught at Carroll for seven years.

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