GODFREY - Seven students took to the stage of the Ann Whitney Olin Theatre in the Hatheway Cultural Center at Lewis and Clark Community College March 10 to face off in the “You Have A Voice!” speech competition, sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Sophomore Lucia Mattea earned first place and a $75 prize with her speech, “America’s Mental Health Education Epidemic.”
“I was honestly shocked when they announced my name,” Mattea said. “Everybody who spoke was so incredible and I knew I had some amazing competition.”
Mattea’s inspiration came from experience.
“I was dealing with depression and anxiety, but nobody wanted to talk about those things – they were too stigmatized,” she said. “Even if mental health was talked about, it was mental illness and nothing more. I wanted to raise awareness for that.”
Grace Costello was awarded second place and a $50 prize for her presentation entitled “The Art of Nothing.” Alexandra Blockton earned third place and $25 for her speech, “Domestic Violence Survivor.”
Other students participating in the competition were Jennifer Wolfrom, Callie Chappie, Grace Berry and Samuel Copeland. Copeland, a student from Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto, is the first dual-credit student to participate in the competition.
Speech Professor and Phi Theta Kappa Advisor Elizabeth Grant was impressed with the quality of this year’s entries.
“This year’s contest was filled with exceptional speakers,” Grant said. “The contest has continued to gain participation and we had seven talented competitors this year.”
The annual competition is open to all enrolled students and is held each March.
For more information on Phi Theta Kappa or the L&C Speech Program, contact Grant at (618) 468-4725.