Top speakers named in Ivy Tech’s third annual student speech competition

Krysten Moon earned top prize as advocate for the Peru Rolling Chapel

KOKOMO, Ind. – Krysten Moon, a General Studies major from Peru, took top honors Tuesday night in the third annual student speech competition sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region’s Professional Communication Program and the Kokomo Campus Activities Board. Heather Conger, a Human Services major from Kokomo, won the competition’s People’s Choice Award.

The five finalists in the competition, dubbed the “Speak Up—Speak Out” Project (SUSO), delivered speeches advocating on behalf of local nonprofit organizations. Moon, who was cited for her sincere and passionate delivery as well as the clear call to action in her conclusion, advocated for the Peru Rolling Chapel, an outreach of the Peru Council for Weekday Religious Education. As the winner selected by the judges for most effectively applying the principles of public speaking and persuasion, she earned a free class and $362 in charity donations for the nonprofit.

Heather Conger named ‘People’s Choice’ winner for speech on The Salvation Army

Heather Conger named ‘People’s Choice’ winner for speech on The Salvation Army

The People’s Choice Award was determined by donations from Tuesday night’s audience to the student speaker representing their favorite charity. Conger represented the Salvation Army of Kokomo. By gathering the most money from the audience, she earned a donation of $565 for the Salvation Army.

The judges – retired educators Sherry and Stu Whitcomb, both veterans of high school speech competitions, and Ivy Tech professor Josh Rockey, founder of the SUSO competition – were so impressed by the quality of the competition that they awarded two runner-up prizes. Conger was named second runner-up and Rebecca Harris, an Office Administration major from Logansport, was named first runner-up for her speech advocating for the Civic Players of Logansport.

Christina Pifer, a Health Care Support major from Royal Center who advocated for Peak Community Services, and Amber Zehringer, a General Studies major from Kokomo who advocated for Bona Vista Programs, rounded out the list of finalists.

David Gray, assistant professor of communication and the SUSO Project coordinator, said the evening represented well the project’s two broad purposes.

“The program is designed to help students connect the principles of public speaking with civic responsibility and to start them on the road to civic engagement through interaction with a community organization,” he said. “It gives students the opportunity to connect the lessons of their public speaking class to ‘real-world’ application, using principles learned in class to attempt to steer an audience toward a very real goal. We accomplished both tonight.”

Ivy Tech’s Professional Communication Program provides students with a rich background in the arts and sciences, equipping them with problem-solving skills, communication and writing abilities, and experience in communicating and designing texts using information technologies. For more information about the Professional Communication Program or the “Speak Up—Speak Out” Project, contact Gray at 765-459-0561, ext. 389, or .


About Ivy Tech Kokomo Region

Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region serves Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties and includes campuses or instructional sites in the communities of Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, and Rochester. Ivy Tech serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. For more information, visit
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