The Bailey Oratorical was held on March 1st 2011 in Rosenberger Auditorium, where seven excellent public-speaking students were selected to compete for their persuasive speeches on “person of the year for 2010.” Ellen Santa Maria, a junior from Wallingford, Pa., received the third place prize in the contest. I asked Ellen some questions regarding her preparation for this prestigious Juniata tradition.
What prompted you to enter the competition?
I’ve taken public speaking with Grace Fala, professor of communication, and I am currently taking professional presentations with Donna Weimer, professor of communication. Donna , who is the professor for several of my current classes, was giving half a letter grade of extra credit for anyone participating, so it seemed like a no-brainer. I also tried out last year and didn’t make it, so I really wanted to do it again.
How did you develop and decide on your topic for “person of the year”?
I decided on “air travel” for person of the year. In class, Donna said to pick a topic that really meant something to you and I couldn’t think of anything in my time abroad that meant as much as air travel. (Ellen studied abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland in the fall.)
How did you prepare for the event?
I met with each communication professor at least twice and read my speech to them. I also read my speech in the black box auditorium several times. My poor roommate, Victoria Thornton, had to listen to my speech a hundred times in our room. I read it aloud a lot, sometimes while listening to music.
What was your favorite part of the whole process for preparing and performing at the Bailey?
The whole day before and when all my friends from various social groups were giving me so much support and encouragement. Getting up there and speaking, as well as hearing the applause, was awesome too.
How did you deal with nervousness before giving your speech?
I didn’t get nervous until the night of, when I was sitting there waiting to speak. And I dealt with it by…not really dealing with it. My heart was palpitating out of my chest, but once I got out there I just looked out in the crowd to see people that I cared about.
-Joyce Eveleth, ’11, Juniata online Journalist