Class of 2016
To many WHS students, hearing ‘speech class’ can produce feelings of anxiety and nausea. For many, public speaking is a difficult task not only to accomplish, but to accomplish without stuttering or falling over. “I learned to be confident. Also, keeping eye contact with everyone helps to make people intrigued in what you are saying” said Krissy Ercolani, former speech student.
Mr.Mearman, who started teaching speech class in 2010 because of his expertise in this area, said, “I like when the kids are speaking the best because then that’s when I get to see them actually applying or trying to develop or grow. That’s why I don't get up and talk all that much in the class because you don't really learn how to give a speech just by watching someone talk. I think it's a you learn by doing type of situation, so the more chances you get, I think the better you get.”
Mr.Mearman continued by saying, “[I expect my students] to gain confidence speaking in front of people so in the future if they have the chance or opportunity to speak, they will get up and they won't be all nervous and won't be freaking out about it. They’ll be able to handle themselves accordingly.” Mearman explains his expectations to his students the first day of the course so they know what to be prepared with for the semester. I talked to Alyssa Difiore, a new speech student, who explained to me what it felt like after the first day of class, “I feel like it had a good vibe. I think Mr. Mearman seems like he knows what he’s doing so I feel pretty good.”
As a former speech student myself, I can say that speech is by far one of my favorite classes and was such a positive experience. Another former student, Alex Casertano mentioned to me, “I wasn't able to talk in front of people before, especially in a big group of people.” Agreeing with this statement, I have personally noticed myself outside of speech class, using the skills I have acquired.
One of the main reasons why students enjoy speech class is because of Mearman himself. He makes the class more enjoyable with his humor and flexibility. Casertano explains, “I liked that he was really open to everything everyone said in speech class and he never judged anyone for what they said. Also, he makes you feel more comfortable because [the classroom] is not just white walls, he has all these albums and posters everywhere.”
Overall, Speech class is a course all should take before leaving high school. Mr.Mearman explained, “A lot of students say the same thing, that this is one of the classes that they’ll take forward because it's something that they are going to use in real life.” The improvement students notice in themselves after taking this course is amazing. Mearman states, “From shaking like a leaf, nervous the first time they speak, to obvious confidence the last time they speak.”
Personally, I took speech last semester and we all went from not knowing each other, to knowing almost everything about one another just through our speeches. We all connected and had a great time in doing so. Mearman said, “You become friends with each other and almost like a family kind of thing because you’re rooting for each other.” It was nice knowing I walked out of that class with confidence in public speaking and eighteen new friends.