Opportunity, previous experience leads junior dean to assist speech

Previously published in “The Mount” a publication produced by the staff of Mount Michael’s Journalism team. Follow the journalism team via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube links on https://mountonline.org

By CARTER CLINE ’22

The steady growth of the speech program has raised the need for an assistant coach. Junior dean Scott Townsend ‘14 volunteered to take up this new position of novice speech coach.

Townsend chose to volunteer because of his participation in speech throughout high school.

During his junior and senior years, he was coached by English teacher Eileen Sullivan.

“She helped me find the ability to overcome my nerves to speak what I was thinking,” Townsend said.

With his new position, he now has the chance to give back to the program — this time as a coach. Many of his students value his leadership.

“He has definitely helped me refine my poetry, and he has given me lots of helpful feedback,” Colin Robb ‘22 said.

Townsend listens to students’ speeches at each practice in order to help them be more successful during their speech competitions.

“He is great at giving tips and advice to make the speech the best it can be,” Michael Oehler ‘21 said. “He is definitely patient and capable.”

These qualities, along with his previous experience as a student, back his ability to effectively coach. It is from these experiences, he said, that he draws his advice and helpful tips.

“I am not a naturally strong public speaker, and I still feel nervous speaking in front of large groups, but speech taught me to overcome this,” he said.

According to Townsend, the lessons he learned, and now passes down, carry impact beyond speech competitions all the way to a successful future.

“A lot of little mistakes can be overcome with confidence,” Townsend said. “In today’s world, it is important to be able to express what you are thinking in a way no one else can.”

While it is easy to get caught up in all the details trying to take a speech to the next level, Townsend ultimately feels the best thing to work on is projecting a sense of confidence.

“Speech has taught me that if I have confidence in myself, other people will start to feel confident in me too,” he said.