I dedicated my Year of Service project to the social issue of public speaking. I spent my time with the Speech and Debate Team of Wooster High School. Public Speaking is such a pivotal aspect to success in the world today and I felt that with my experience and success on the team that I would be able to build up the skills of these younger students.
I had various tasks at this site. I had to help students review material, concepts, and scripts for what they wanted to speak on. From there we had to cut, trim, shape, and formulate speeches into the time frame that corresponded with each category, while maintaining the messages, entertainment, and engaging aspects of a speech. Once this was completed, I collaborated with students and coaches to help shape the whole speech. In how dialogue should sound; focusing on rate, tone, pitch, and all aspects of delivery. We also put in blocking, or movements that would be engaging and appropriate, but not distracting. All of these are looked at to enhance the performance and shape speeches to be the best that they can be.
Through my Year of Service I was able to take away a lot, and learn numerous things. The project allowed me to further develop and enhance my oratory skills by practicing with the students and continuing to listen to how the head coach constructed her feedback. Also, working as an assistant coach from another city I had to learn great communication, organizational, and time management skills, as well as needing to think a little outside of the box. Talking to coaches of the team and students I was sometimes a middle man and had to relay messages, and I learned out to clearly communicate changes, concerns, and progress to all parties. I also had to stay organized. There were weekends I would go home to help with practices or tournaments so I had to make sure I was well organized and had my school work done in advance and had the logistics of traveling back and forth lined up correctly. Which also leads into time management. With all of the travel and distance with the project I had to work efficiently at practices to make sure I was getting through the amount of speeches that coach wanted me to help with, while still being able to develop relationships with all of the students. Coach and I had a spreadsheet that we used for practice times that worked really well to help us stay organized and efficient in our efforts.
We also got creative in how we worked, knowing that I could not always make it back. So sometimes I worked with students via skype or FaceTime. We also used video, which was great because students gained a lot from watching themselves and seeing the issues we were working with them on. This allowed me to gain a great sense of adaptability.
I loved my Year of Service and plan to continue my service with the program. Maybe eventually working to become a true coach and help continue the success of the program and growing successful students and preserving the importance of Public Speaking for years to come.