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College Connections hosts student speech contest

Submitted Photo Laura Wilson, Westfield Academy & Central School English teacher; Bethany Schaaf, Finley Holt, Kara Triscari, and Barbi Price, Jamestown High School English teacher.

JAMESTOWN — The seventh annual College Connections student speech contest was held at Jamestown Community College’s Jamestown Campus in April.

Finley Holt of Jamestown High School won first place. Bethany Schaaf of Westfield Academy & Central School placed second and Kara Triscari of Jamestown High School placed third.

Other contestants included Hunter Halterman of Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School; Ethan Yannie and Nelson Rosario of Dunkirk High School; Ginna Hensel of Ellicottville Central School; Tesika Kilmer and Janie Swanson of Falconer Center School; Caleb Barber and Ian Conner of Frewsburg Central School; Caitlin Samargian and Samantha Kinnaird of Gowanda Central School; Makenzie Pagano and Kristen Wielgasz of Silver Creek Central School; and Ryan Jafarjian of Westfield Academy & Central School.

The competition is open to College Connections students at partner high schools who are enrolled in JCC’s Public Speaking course.

Students prepared a four- to five-minute speech on the topic, “How does the vision of America intersect with the reality of America?” They also gave a one-minute impromptu speech on a randomly selected topic.

Judges were Tory Irgang, executive director of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation; Katie Castro, director of mission at Conduit Ministries and founder of Ministerio La Raza and Little Angels of Honduras; and Jordan Steves, director of strategic communications and community outreach at Chautauqua Institution.

Following the contest, students listened to a panel discussion on communications careers featuring Gary Hahn, director of marketing and communications at the National Comedy Center; Amber Grekalski, marketing specialist at Weber Knapp; and Bill Olson, adjunct media arts instructor at JCC.

College Connections, JCC’s concurrent enrollment program with area high schools, is accredited by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.