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UZOMA NGWU: Honoring Speech and Debate through Visual Art by Greyson Koinzan


rt comes in all shapes and sizes: photography, drawing, painting, speech, debate, music, theater, writing, and hundreds of other media. For senior competitor Uzoma Ngwu, the ability to combine many of her artful passions comes with ease. To highlight just one example, Uzo's design for the National Speech and Debate Education (NSDE) Day poster contest blends her love for visual art with her love for speech and debate into one creation. Each year, the National Speech & Debate Association holds a poster contest for member students to kick off the celebration of NSDE Day—March 1 in 2019. Dozens of students submit



their works for the contest, but only one can win. This year, that honor went to Uzoma Ngwu of Apple Valley High School in Minnesota. This wasn’t Uzo's first submission. Her sophomore year, one of her coaches suggested she submit a design. “[My coach] knew I was artistically inclined,” Uzo explains, “but I designed the poster super lastminute and didn’t end up creating something to my best ability. This year, however, my coach gave me a heads up about

a month in advance, which gave me ample time to come up with a concept and create a poster I was proud of.” Uzo was inspired by previous contest winners, the NSDA logo colors, and the competitors from the final rounds of the National Tournament last June. She knew, from the very beginning, how she wanted her poster to turn out. “I knew I wanted to illustrate a diverse group of people in suits, but the idea to make them look like competitors

from the NSDA final round didn’t come until later,” Uzo says. “In an effort to make the poster design more inclusive, I drew a girl with a hijab, and she ended up turning into Oratory champion Halima Badri. The other people in the poster are loose depictions of other finalists.” NSDE Day means more than just an opportunity to bust out Uzo’s art skills, however. “NSDE Day is important to me because speech and debate is a life-changing activity— and the more kids are exposed to the program, the better!” Uzo says. “It only makes sense to celebrate and recognize the ways speech and debate have positively impacted students' lives.” Her excitement for NSDE Day spans beyond her own. Last year, Apple Valley's team invited a guest speaker, made schoolwide announcements, created

Profile for Speech & Debate

2019 February/March Rostrum  

Volume 93 Issue 3

2019 February/March Rostrum  

Volume 93 Issue 3