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Harrod Takes First in Public Speaking Contest

Associate in Science student Adam Harrod (center) was the winner of the 2016 PCC Public Speaking Contest on Wednesday. Originally from Kentucky, the 32-year-old Harrod now lives in Farmville and plans to pursue a career as a veterinarian. The top five finishers in this year's competition, which was first held in 1994, were, left to right: Beyonca Mewborn (T-2nd), Jamie Gallagher (T-2nd), Harrod (1st), Brianne Pope (5th) and Ethan Poppe (4th).


WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College students shared their thoughts on the legalization of marijuana in North Carolina as they competed against one another in the college’s annual public speaking contest.

Adam Harrod, a first-year Associate in Science student with plans to become a veterinarian, claimed first place in the competition, which was first held at PCC in 1994. Jamie Gallagher and Beyonca Mewborn tied for second, Ethan Poppe was fourth, and Brianne Pope took fifth.

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 this afternoon.

Each participant was asked to speak for 4-5 minutes on legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use in North Carolina and the consequences it would have on the state. Speakers were awarded points for introductions, speech content, diction, gestures, eye contact and overall impression. Points were deducted for speeches shorter than four minutes and longer than five.

Harrod, who is originally from Kentucky but now lives in Farmville, said the legalization of marijuana in the Tar Heel State would positively impact the state’s economy, add jobs and increase freedom. He said states that have already made the drug legal have seen positive effects.

“The blueprint is out there,” Harrod said. “All we need to do is use it.”

In addition to the $150-prize he received for winning the public speaking contest, Harrod’s name will be placed on a plaque containing the names of all of the previous event winners.

Serving as judges for this year’s contest were former PCC Communications Department Chair Greg Baldwin, Pitt County Department of Social Services Lead Attorney Julia Petrasso, 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.

A total of $400 was awarded to the top five speakers in this year’s contest, which also received sponsorship from Chick-fil-A of Winterville and Minges Bottling Group, Inc.