Student Wins Texas’ Oldest Oratorical Contest

For the second year in a row, a TCU student has won the Battle of Flowers Oratorical Contest. Vivian Noyd, a senior strategic communication major from Wenatchee, Washington, placed first in Texas’ oldest oratorical contest held virtually on February 26. The other TCU student competitor was Cage Sawyers, a senior interdisciplinary inquiry major, who placed fifth in the competition. The theme this year was “EXTRA! EXTRA! Texas Journalists Making History” and in her speech, Noyd shared the story of Vivian Castleberry, a nationally recognized Texas journalist who was the first woman to be named to the Dallas Times Herald editorial board. Sawyers’ speech was about the life and career of legendary newsman, Bob Schieffer.

A screenshot of Cage Sawyers delivering his speech during the 2021 Battle of Flowers Oratorical Contest.

Noyd said she was genuinely shocked when they called her name and she felt completely overwhelmed. “Any time I’ve competed in a speech competition, I’ve always been amazed by the caliber of talent, and the Battle of Flowers was no exception. It truly is an incredible honor to have walked away with the first place title. I’m so happy to have had the chance to share the remarkable story of Vivian Castleberry and earned a scholarship that will help to fund my law school education.”

Carrie Moore, instructor in the Communication Studies department, has coached the TCU competitors for the last nine years. “Winning back-to-back years is thrilling. Watching my dear students’ speeches come to life is one of those moments when I get goose bumps. This year, Vivian’s cool composure, flexibility with the virtual competition, and deeply moving tribute to Vivian Castleberry made me swell with pride. I am grateful to the Battle of the Flowers organization for caring so deeply for this academic endeavor and for so generously rewarding our students’ creativity and skill.” 

A screenshot of Vivian Noyd delivering her speech during the 2021 Battle of Flowers Oratorical Contest.

Competing online rather than in person was a change from previous years. Noyd and Sawyers delivered their speeches from Moudy South room 320, utilizing newly installed technology and cameras. Moore said the students practiced several times in the space to make sure they simulated eye contact into the camera, became comfortable with lights on them and choreographed appropriate nonverbal movements to look professional on camera.

“I had an incredible time competing this year. While I’ve never participated in a fully online competition, I was pleasantly surprised by how seamless and well organized the entire experience was. From crafting my speech to delivering it, I’m very thankful for the support of my family, friends, mentors, and the volunteers at the Battle of Flowers organization. I would wholeheartedly recommend this experience to anyone with a love for history and public speaking,” Noyd said.

Noyd will receive a $5,000 scholarship from the organization and Moore will be awarded $2,500 for her academic department. Sawyers will be awarded a $750 cash prize.Vivian Noyd delivers her speech virtually for the Battle of Flowers Oratorical Contest.