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A conversation with…Gage Sarrett

Gage Sarrett is a first-year theater and sociology major at Case Western Reserve University. Sarrett is the president of the newly-founded Competitive Speech Team (CST), which aims to enhance CWRU students’ public speaking skills, regardless of their major. The Observer had the opportunity to meet with Sarrett to talk about the organization.

Noora Somersalo (NS): How did CST come together?

Gage Sarrett (GS): I have previous experience in being on speech and debate teams in high school. When I came to CWRU, I wanted to continue the hobby. I started talking to other students who had a similar background to mine, and since there was not a speech and debate presence on campus, we wanted to make it happen. We started advertising CST on Facebook to get more people to join. Initially we had 14 people in the organization, and after that around ten people have expressed interest in joining us. We had our first meeting on Oct. 4.

NS: How is CST different from the Case Debate Team (CDT)?

GS: CST participates in different events than the CDT. CDT focuses on policy debates, whereas we participate in speaking events that include monologues, persuasive speeches, etc.

NS: Would you say that practicing interpretive speech skills is more important than practicing policy debate skills?

GS: I would say that it depends on the person. For somebody who is looking to get involved with politics or scientific journalism, debate could be a great asset to their future career plans. Speech has a far more universal application in that it simply helps build communication skills. No matter what someone’s career path, they will need to be competitive in job interviews. In most cases, they also must work well among their co-workers so that they can better accomplish group tasks, and even begin taking leadership positions. Either way, both debate and speech are fun ways to boost core developmental skills.

NS: What is in your agenda for this academic year?

GS: Our first goal is to go to compete at Bowling Green State University in November. We are still trying to figure out the transportation and the fees, but we should definitely be able to participate in the event. We are also going to try to go to three more tournaments in the spring. Hopefully, we will try to set up different fundraising events as well.

NS: What do you hope to see happen with CST over the course of the next four years?

GS: I hope to make the organization competitive among other similar collegiate organizations in the Midwest. I also expect to maintain a stable and dedicated membership base, and contribute to the atmosphere of the CWRU campus by hosting events. My dream objective is to host a large-scale high school forensics tournament here on campus.

NS: Why do you think it is important for CWRU students to join organizations such as CST?

GS: It is an excellent way to develop communication skills for different social situations, such as job interviews, as I mentioned earlier. For me personally, it has been helpful to learn those skills in general; it makes me more comfortable communicating with others. Students with specific majors would definitely benefit from having good public speaking skills, such as theater majors like me. That does not mean that only students with certain majors may join CST; the majors of our members range from engineering to English.

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About the Contributor
Noora Somersalo, Opinion Editor
Noora Somersalo is a third-year English and chemistry double major currently serving as the opinion editor of The Observer. In the past, Noora has worked for the news section as a staff reporter. Noora is also a tutor on the SAGES Peer Writing Crew.
In her free time, she likes to drink coffee (preferably alongside some tasty treats), watch movies, and, when her finances permit, explore the Cleveland food scene.

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