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2022 Stay Woke Speech & Debate Competition Profile

By Anna Galaktionov


It’s time to get hyped for the 2022 Stay Woke Speech and Debate Competition! The sixth annual competition will be held in the David Brinkley Studio and broadcast live via YouTube at BTV Channel 14 on Thursday, November 17.

Graphic Credit to Thania Mejia

The competition’s theme is Stay Woke, which is defined as remaining “vigilant about one’s place in the world as it relates to policy, government, cultures, and institutions, etc.”


The finalists will take on Stay Woke topics ranging from politics to language to social justice and will argue either FOR or AGAINST their chosen topic.


Here are the topics for this year’s competition:


TOPIC #1 Non-native English speakers should take steps in reducing their native accent.


TOPIC #2 President Biden's student loan relief plan is not equitable.


TOPIC #3 The British monarchy should offer reparations for the injustices made against enslaved and colonized humans around the world.


TOPIC #4 The fast work pace of companies like Amazon is a threat to worker safety.


TOPIC #5 A low-context communication style contributes to a more open and democratic society.


As they present their speeches, the finalists will quote from articles written by the student reporters of The Buccaneer as part of their sources.


The finalists will also answer questions from the audience and from officials like Dr. Mimi Capote, adjunct lecturer for the D. Inez Andreas School of Business.


Lastly, the finalists’ speeches will be weighed by judges Dr. Sean Foreman, chair of the department of history and political science, Dr. Jalane Meloun, professor of administration, Dr. Dale Hartz, assistant professor of management, and Mateo Gomez, former Buccaneer reporter, now-marketing coordinator at the division of enrollment and marketing.


Be sure to attend live or watch online to see which finalists take first, second, and third place!


As the finalists prepare for their speeches, let’s get to know them! To find out what topic and position they will be defending, stay tuned to The Buccaneer’s Instagram account @bu_buccaneer

Daria Didenko. Photo credit to Barry University.

Daria Didenko


Instagram Handle: @d_dsidenko

Year of Study: Sophomore


Major: International Business


Speech Coach: Dr. Priscilla Jensen

Hometown: Kirovsk, Russia


Hobbies: "Scuba diving, Formula 1, music, hanging out with friends.”

Elizabeth Chavarria. Photo credit to Elizabeth Chavarria.

Elizabeth Chavarria


Year of Study: Freshman


Major: Biochemistry


Speech Coach: Dr. Priscilla Jensen


Hometown: Highland, CA


Hobbies: "Cooking, driving, drawing, dancing, singing, and helping others.”





Ethan Brooks. Photo credit to Ethan Brooks.

Ethan Brooks


Instagram Handle: @mr_ethan19


Year of Study: Senior


Major: Computer Science with a Minor in Math


Speech Coach: Professor Gina Margillo


Hometown: Managua, Nicaragua


Hobbies: "Reading and talking to whoever is unfortunate enough to be next to me.”




Jalaynna Sparrow. Photo credit to Jalaynna Sparrow.

Jalaynna Sparrow


Instagram Handle: @jalaynna221


Year of Study: Freshman


Major: Pre-Nursing


Speech Coach: Professor J. R. Steele


Hometown: Collingswood, NJ


Hobbies: "I am a cheerleader for a school. I've been doing it since I was little.”








Jasser Ferreiro. Photo credit to Jasser Ferreiro.

Jasser Ferreiro


Instagram Handle: @j.f_707


Year of Study: Sophomore


Major: History with a Minor in Biology


Speech Coach: Professor Michael Shelfer


Hometown: Miami, FL


Hobbies: “Playing video games, watching anime, playing my alto sax, reading, going to the gym.”





Kean Huy Alado. Photo credit to Kean Huy Alado.

Kean Huy Alado

Instagram Handle: @_huy.bui_


Year of Study: Freshman


Major: Pre-Nursing


Speech Coach: Professor Michael Shelfer


Hometown: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam


Hobbies: “Guitar, volleyball, videogames, editing, diving, skiing, exploring, spending time with friends.”





Michelle Armas. Photo credit to Michelle Armas.

Michelle Armas


Instagram Handle: @michellearmas


Year of Study: Freshman


Major: Criminology


Speech Coach: Professor J. R. Steele


Hometown: Marco Island, FL


Hobbies: "Reading/writing.”





Isaiah Tuck. Photo credit to Isaiah Tuck.

Isaiah Tuck


Instagram Handle: @isaiah.tuck


Year of Study: Sophomore


Major: Television and Digital Media


Speech Coach: Dr. Priscilla Jensen


Hometown: Cleveland, OH


Hobbies: "I'm a freelance videographer and video editor.”




Jailene Cintron


Year of Study: Senior


Major: Biology

Speech Coach: Professor Tiffani Knowles


Hometown: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands


Hobbies: "I like to read.”