Experience PCC Academics Continuing Education Distance Learning Faculty & Staff Contact
Apply Now Click Here

Eric Walls Wins 2015 Public Speaking Contest

PCC Communications instructors Kelly Jones (left) and Joshua Matthews (right) pose for a photo with this year's PCC public speaking competition contestants: Samuel Sauls, Taylor Modlin, Emma Conigliaro and Eric Walls, left to right.


WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College students shared their thoughts on the cost of higher education this month as they competed against one another in the college’s annual public speaking contest.

Eric Walls, a university transfer student with a 4.0 GPA, took first place in the competition. Finishing second was Williamston’s Taylor Modlin, followed by Wilson’s Samuel Sauls and Plymouth’s Emma Conigliaro.

Organized by communications instructors Kelly Jones and Joshua Matthews and sponsored by the PCC Student Government Association and McGraw-Hill Higher Education, the contest took place in the Craig F. Goess Student Center on April 2.

Each participant was asked to speak on President Barack Obama’s proposals to reduce the cost of education through a Student Aid Bill of Rights and offering two years of community college tuition-free. The students were asked to consider their thoughts on college affordability, possible solutions to the high cost of education, and the importance of giving students affordable access to college.

Speakers were awarded points for their introductions, speech content, diction, gestures, eye contact and overall impression. Points were deducted for speeches shorter than four minutes and longer than five.

Walls, an Ayden resident who will graduate next month, said in his speech that society must change its attitude toward education and understand what it truly means to borrow money for college. He said it is important for students to borrow no more funding than is actually needed to pursue a college degree and to enroll in programs that lead to jobs in high demand.

In addition to the $150-prize he received for winning the public speaking contest, Walls’ name will be placed on a plaque containing the names of all of the previous event winners since the competition first took place in 1994.

Serving as judges for this year’s contest were PCC Communications Instructor Ken Robol, former PCC Communications Department Chair Greg Baldwin, and Ryan Viviani, learning technology consultant for Humanities, Social Sciences and Language Disciplines for McGraw-Hill Education. Matthews served as the event’s official timer.