It’s back to the battle for Carrie Moore and her students.
Senior Lily Gould, a communication studies major from Lake Forest, Ill., and Hailey Janysek, a communication studies and criminal justice major from La Vernia, Texas, will compete Feb. 25 at the 97th annual Oratorical Contest of the Battle of Flowers.
Moore, a communication studies instructor, has been prepping TCU students since 2013.
The competition, one of the state’s oldest, sets a topic each year based on Texas history; this year’s theme is “Defining Disasters: Reshaping Texas & Texans.”
Contestants must write abstracts explaining their topics and deliver 10- to 12-minute speeches from memory.
Joining 10 other finalists from across the state, Gould will speak on “A Shocking Norm: The Yellow Fever Epidemic” and Janysek will speak on “170-Mile-per-Hour Winds of Change: The Story of Hurricane Carla.”
“Oh, I love seeing their speeches come alive!” Moore said. “We have amazing writers at TCU. And when competition day finally comes, seeing their thoughtful, hard work in action is accompanied with thrilling goosebumps. My cup overflows.”
Moore said the memorization part can be grueling for students, as no notes are permitted.
“If things don’t quite go as planned (e.g. a memory break), my dear students handle that moment with composure and resilience. They keep going,” she said. “I have never had a student fall apart in the middle of a speech or quit.”
Moore generally recruits speakers from her Advanced Public Speaking course. Many contestants are in their senior year, though 2016 winner John Biebighauser was a first-year student.
Since, Moore’s students have placed first: Vivian Noyd (2021), Michael Brown (2020) and John Biebighauser (2016); four in second place: Michael Brown (2019), Daniel Salazar (2015) and Stephanie Milligan (2014, 2016); one each in third (Michael Gonzalez in 2019), fourth (Michael Brown in 2018) and fifth (Jaclyn Cravello in 2013).
“It’s a blast!” Moore said of watching her students win. “I am particularly thankful to the Battle of the Flowers organization for rewarding these talented students with such generous scholarships. That generosity is appreciated and put to such good use.”
Students who place win from $750 to $5,000. The department for the top three winners also receives a monetary award.
Like last year, this year’s competition will be held virtually. The preliminary round kicks off at 9 a.m. Feb. 25, followed by the final round at 1:30 p.m.