Kim Sulzner Bridges Gap Between Speech and Theatre

By Aimee Clive, Excalibur Yearbook Student Life Editor

FHN theatre teacher Kim Sulzner is teaching the speech and debate classes this school year, and her extensive experience in theatre gives her a unique perspective on the subject area.  Even though it has been a while since she’s last taught Speech, Sulzner is excited for the opportunity to teach a class she believes goes hand-in-hand with theatre.

“It’s still a performance based class,” Sulzner said. “You have to control your emotions, you have to control your expressions. The only difference is you’re not creating a character, you’re just being you. Sometimes, that’s even scarier than when you get to be somebody else; when you’re public speaking, it’s just you up there.”

Speech 1 students are beginning the year with an ‘All About Me’ speech, and the most important requirement is to describe themselves in whatever way they choose. Students find they enjoy the freedom to explore different topic areas, and they hope the class will help grow their self confidence.

“It’s a very student oriented class,” senior Jeffry Anderson said. “Students themselves get to pick what they talk about, like how and why they talk about it. It gives them a lot of voice and power.”

From presentations to job interviews, speech is an inescapable part of life.  The ability to speak publicly is a skill anyone can benefit from, and it has practical use across every subject and discipline.

“I think it’s really a good fundamentals course in adapting to speaking to crowds and the basic public speaking skills that we are all inevitably going to need as adults,” senior Zac Cary said.

Most people have faced stage fright at some point in their life, and being able to get past it takes practice and perseverance.  Speech and debate classes provide some beginning tools to achieve this.

“I think her theatre experience is going to really help her teaching speech because she so frequently deals with the stage fight,” Cary said. “The ability to help students overcome that nervousness on stage is really going to set her apart.”