On Point

Student Orators Compete

By Myra Saturen ,

Ballet pointe shoes have short life spans, said Breanna Woodworth, a participant in Northampton Community College's (NCC) annual speech competition on April 19.Kelly Schulteis, Breanna Woodworth, Deirdre MacDonald and Colby Hendricks  In just one week, dancers wear out six to ten pairs; ballet companies go through about 8,500 a year. 

Every student at NCC takes a speech communication course as a requirement for graduation.  Out of thousands of students, who research, write and deliver one informative and one persuasive speech during the course, professors nominate semifinalists.  Students and instructors then judge and eventually narrow the competition down to a few contestants.

In "Pointe Shoes 101," Woodworth traced the life of a pointe shoe, from its sizing for an individual dancer's foot to its hand crafting from wood, satin and paper, to its wearer's final touch, affixing ribbon and elastic with the help of dental floss.

Colby Hendricks crashed his car, won the lottery, bought a Ferrara, and dated Jennifer Aniston: all in a lucid dream.  "Lucid Dreams," he explained, are ones that the sleeper, although unable to move or speak, can control.  Anyone can learn to do it, he said.  Such dreams are therapeutic as relaxation, a way to solve problems and a boost to confidence.  He envisions inventing a "brain box," where person's brain can be kept alive forever. 

Deirdre MacDonald told her audience members that they can be married by a "Pastafarian," clergy person, wearing a colander on his or her head.  "Pastafarianism," she explained, is a satirical political statement in opposition to "intelligent design."  Its adherents worship "the Flying Spaghetti Monster."  Its inventor, Bobby Henderson, proposed that deifying pasta made as much sense as promoting intelligent design. 

Would you know what to do if you saw a man collapse on the street?  Kelly Schultheis introduced her listeners to "CPR Basics," a lifesaving technique that doubles survival rates from cardiac arrest.  Only 30% of the population can perform this critical measure.  Shultheis taught her listeners how to recognize the signs of cardiac arrest, the leading cause of death in the United States: chest pain, sudden collapse, absence of pulse, absence of breathing, and loss of consciousness.  Through a video, she showed the ABCs of cardio pulmonary resuscitation: airway clearance, mouth-to mouth breathing and chest compressions.   

Christopher Clauser also prepared a talk, "No Treble," but was unable to participate because of a personal emergency. 

The students' instructors were Associate Professor Jennifer Del Quadro, Professor Dr. Melissa Koberlein, and Professor Donna Acerra.

Judges included Travis Brown, a learning technology representative for McGraw-Hill publishers; Kerry Freidl, deputy county solicitor for Lehigh and Northampton counties; Ann Gillelette, manager of public relations and media for the Lehigh Charter High School for the Performing Arts; David Long, math and physics teacher and debate coach at Southern Lehigh High School; and Vertel Martin, professor of criminal justice and co-coordinator of the criminal justice program at NCC.    

The contestants placed:
First: Colby Hendricks
Second: Kelly Schultheis  
Third: Deirdre MacDonald  
Fourth: Breanna Woodworth