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Granddaughter of newspaper founder and journalist wins speech competition

Vivian Noyd, senior strategic communication and youth advocacy and educational studies dual major, wins speech competition. (Marissa Stacy/Managing Editor)

The granddaughter of a newspaper publisher said her family’s legacy inspired her winning speech for this year’s Battle of Flowers Association Oratorical Contest.

Journalism has long been a force in her life, said Vivian Noyd, strategic communication and youth advocacy and educational studies dual major. 

“I’ve seen firsthand the way a commitment to sharing the stories of others can revolutionize a community, bring light to important issues and encourage meaningful discussion,” said Noyd.

She said she drew upon those experiences as she addressed the theme for the 96th annual competition, “EXTRA! EXTRA! Texas Journalists Making History.” Her winning speech topic was a tribute to Vivian Castleberry, the first woman to be named to the Dallas Times Herald editorial board who inspired female journalists throughout the nation. 

Noyd’s late grandmother founded the Woodinville Weekly in Woodinville, Washington, outside of Seattle. Her mother, the daughter of a journalist, was instrumental in shaping her speech. 

“She encouraged me to not just describe what journalists do, but to highlight the significance of the profession as a whole throughout my speech,” said Noyd. 

She said as a child her parents encouraged her to vocalize her opinions and defend her ideas. She had frequent conversations with them about political and social issues which instilled her passion for discussion and breaking down current events. 

Noyd has been participating in speech competitions since she was 11 years old, but the Battle of Flowers, which is held in San Antonio, stands out. The oldest college and university level competition in Texas was on Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This was the first time I’ve ever spoken to an empty auditorium. However, I’m incredibly grateful for the incredible team of volunteers at the Battle of Flowers Organization for ensuring that this competition was possible even in the era of COVID-19,” said Noyd.

Carrie Moore, a communications studies instructor at TCU, reignited Noyd’s passion for competitive public speaking after Noyd took her advanced public speaking class last semester. As Noyd’s mentor, Moore spent countless hours over winter break and leading up to the competition revising her speech. Noyd felt creating a polished speech wouldn’t have been possible without her.

“Vivian’s writing is exceptional, so reading her drafts and working through edits was a breeze,” said Moore. “And when it came time to polish the delivery of the speech, again, Vivian is a pro. She is so calm under pressure, and she possesses a truly conversational and flexible delivery style.” 

Noyd ended her final semester at TCU with a win for the university and a long-time personal achievement.

“I would love to compete in more speech competitions in the future. However, for the rest of the semester I’ll be getting ready to finish my time at TCU and prepare for law school,” said Noyd.

As a future law school student, Noyd plans to put her $5,000 monetary prize towards her higher education.

If COVID-19 restrictions allow, Noyd will be delivering her first-place speech at the Association’s annual Fiesta Luncheon in San Antonio next year. At the conclusion of her speech, she will be presented with a $5,000 check. Additionally, Noyd will ride in the annual Battle of Flowers Parade that will also occur in 2022.

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