Students Write Political Speeches for Local and State Dignitaries

HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 6, 2018 – High Point University’s Nido R. Qubein School of Communication graduate students worked with local and state dignitaries to write and deliver a political speech.

HPU’s Dr. Brandon Lenoir, assistant professor of political communication, had his students work with city of High Point Mayor Jay Wagner and the majority whip of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Rep. Jon Hardister.

“This is another example of our efforts to give HPU students real-world experience,” said Lenoir. “How many college students can say they wrote a speech for the mayor of their city or a state representative?”

Lenoir, in coordination with Wagner and Hardister, had his students write speeches on various topics that included education, economic development, first responders and more.

The speeches will be delivered by the two politicians at upcoming events and meetings.

Briana Davis, an HPU political communication graduate student, worked with Hardister and wrote a speech about an upcoming event covering the importance of education and the support for all educational programs.

HPU’s Briana Davis, a political communication graduate student, delivered a speech on education during class on Dec. 4. Davis worked with Rep. Jon Hardister.

“I felt honored to have the opportunity to write a speech for Rep. Hardister,” said Davis. “I was grateful to have this opportunity because this doesn’t happen every day for students.”

After an initial meeting between the students, the mayor and the representative to discuss speech topics, the students were tasked with researching their topics and writing their speeches in the voice of their partner politician. Follow-up emails and phone calls were used to answer questions and get input on the speeches.

“Working on a project like this was a new experience for me,” said Davis. “Rep. Hardister was very helpful, easy to talk to and was responsive to questions that I had.”

During class on Dec. 4, Wagner joined the students to hear the speeches delivered by each student and provide feedback.

“This was a mutually beneficial project,” said Wagner. “Getting young adults engaged in the political process is one of my top priorities. They are the future of our city.”

Hayden Bardorf, a political communication graduate student, wrote his speech for Wagner.

“Being able to work for a local politician as opposed to a fictitious one gave the assignment more purpose and required us to truly capture his voice,” said Bardorf.

This group of political communication students could be tasked with writing speeches for someone else.

“Having students work directly with elected officials on speech writing is a great concept,” said Hardister. “It provides students with a unique experience to learn and collaborate. I wish I had that opportunity when I was a student.”

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