FVSU student places at national speech conference

May 20, 2013 – A Fort Valley State University student seized a top prize at a national speech competition recently. Kendall Griffin, an early childhood/special education senior, won second place in the persuasive speech category at the 77th annual National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts, Inc. Conference April 10-13. Coppin State University hosted the event in Baltimore, Md.

Founded in 1936, NADSA, Inc. is a professional organization, whose mission is to establish programs in theatre and communicative arts at higher education institutions. It also provides pre-professional experience for students, faculty and practitioners who have an interest in professional work in these fields.

“Dr. Virgie Harris—a former FVSU adjunct professor—told me about the competition,” said Griffin. “She encouraged me to sign up, and I thought that this was an opportunity for me to do something big. I’m a competitor, and I had a feeling that I could win.”

The Ideal, Ga. native paid her own way to the mid-Atlantic state to compete against students from Coppin State, Norfolk State, Grambling, Virginia State and Jackson State universities.

The night before the competition, Griffin timed her speech. She eliminated material, ensuring the length conformed to the contest rules. The next day, Griffin was nervous, but gave it her all.

“My legs were shaking, and I didn’t want it to show in my posture,” admitted Griffin. “So, I leaned on my other leg to stop it. One of the judges was from a prestigious university. I was a little nervous to speak before a top professor, so I gave myself a pep talk: ‘Okay, you’ve got to do your best.’”

Griffin’s fear did not show and she impressed the judges. At a special Saturday ceremony, the FVSU Wildcat learned she had earned a top prize.

“At first they announced third place, Jackson State University. I was sitting with my mother at the table when they said FVSU. At first, I couldn’t believe it; I didn’t realize that I had won. My mother had to tell me to go up there.”

Griffin sees the award as a high honor.

“This has been a very humbling experience for me,” said Griffin. “I’m just grateful to God, because I believe that things happen in life, and that you can receive good things that you don’t expect. God’s plan for us is greater than what we have planned for ourselves.”

Griffin completes her FVSU studies December 2013. After graduation, Griffin plans to attend the University of Georgia, become a teacher and eventually lead a school system as its superintendent.


Christina D. Milton, writer
Marketing and Communications
(478) 822-7589, miltonc@fvsu.edu