By Derek Venegas
The Speech Team at East Los Angeles College creates a comfortable environment for students to socialize, and more importantly, to gain knowledge through communication.
The Speech Team is a club with little recognition on campus, but the impact it has is tremendous. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the team meets at ELAC to express the emotions of a typical college student in an intellectual and artistic way.
“Everyone is really nice, and really good at this,” said Marleny Flores. Flores is a student looking for a club to join on campus. “I get nervous speaking in front of people,” she said. Flores is interested in improving her communication skills, and she feels that the team will offer her the assistance she needs.
The team enters in competitive acting competitions. “At first we go to competitions to get over the fear of speaking in front of people,” says Carlos De La Torre, a 19–year-old student. “Then we go to competitions to be the best speaker in the room.”
He explains that oral interpretation is a lot different than regular stage acting. “I think it gives the audience a more personal perspective.”
Students are also given an opportunity to write and showcase their own work. Raul “Junior” Herrera is a student who feels like the Speech team is helping him fulfill his dream.
“I grew up always wanting to be on stage and become an actor,” said Herrera. He attributes his current success to the countless hours of practice he has done in order to better his craft. “I know everyone says it, but practice makes perfect. There is no easy way to memorize a piece other than heavy repetition,” he said.
The Director of Forensics for the Speech team is Ryan Smith, who is also an ELAC professor in the communications department.
Although ELAC had a Debate Club, Smith also founded the Speech Team in 2009.
“Don’t get me wrong, winning the competitions is very important. Where I really get the most satisfaction is watching my students later in life becoming successful people, and I attribute that to this club,” Smith said.
Smith also has a profound impact on his students work. Nick Montero, age 26, credits his success on the team to his coach. “Professor Smith is a dedicated and intelligent coach. He was a national champion at this. I listen to what he has to say,” says Montero.
Nestled in the burrows of building E-8, students gather to perform literary pieces such as Prose, Poetry, and Drama, which are all forms of oral interpretation. Oral interpretation is the art of adding an individual’s unique emotions to someone else’s literary work.
The Speech Team has an open door policy. The club welcomes all people, and is looking forward to having new recruits.
The next upcoming event for the Speech Team is on December 8 at Cal State University of Long Beach for the Championship Speech Tournament. The Speech team is looking forward to ELAC students showing up at the event and supporting the team.