December 1, 2023 - This year’s Comal Speaks champion is an eighth-grade student from Mountain Valley Middle School. The Comal Independent School District started the contest seven years ago to challenge middle school students to prepare and present speeches to judges on topics related to important character traits.
The district champion, Eva Gurule, 13, won the competition with her speech regarding confidence. A natural-born speaker, Gurule explains that she has always been told that she has a confident speaking voice and believes her affinity for speaking in front of an audience stems from being chosen to represent her elementary school, Startzville Elementary, for a Leader in Me assembly.
“Being chosen to represent my school started my love for speaking,” says Gurule, who has honed her craft over the years. She placed third in the district for UIL impromptu speaking last year and plans to compete again this spring.
A couple of her top tips when it comes to speaking is to be relatable and to keep eye contact with the audience. The topic for her winning speech was, “What makes you lack confidence? How can you overcome it?”
She started by defining ‘confidence,’ saying, “Confidence is believing in yourself.” She continued by explaining how the internet can often take away confidence and provided three ways to overcome it. The first is through self-affirmation; the second is self-love; and the third is to take time away from the internet.
“I should show myself the same kindness I show to others,” Gurule says.
In the Comal Speaks competition, students are given three minutes to prepare their responses on topics that relate to the Comal Commitment character traits and three minutes to present their speeches to a panel of judges. The character traits include responsibility, respect, judgment, honesty, integrity, courtesy, confidence, teamwork, empathy and perseverance.
Comal Speaks began as a way to continue the interest students had in the Comal Shake competition which begins in elementary schools. Many of the students who compete in Comal Speaks competed as elementary students in the Shake contest and are excited to continue to use the character traits in middle school.
Comal Speaks District Finalists
Two students from each middle school advance to the final district competition. This year’s finalists are listed here by campus.
- Canyon Middle School: Joel Nathan and Cora Busch
- Church Hill Middle School: Jose Jimenez-Lopez and Kamari Reed
- Danville Middle School: Juliet Ornes and Addison Bemis
- Mountain Valley Middle School: Eva Gurule and Matie Vargas Juarez
- Pieper Ranch Middle School: Can Bilir and Olivia George
- Spring Branch Middle School: Matteo Jofre and Delilah Anderson
- Smithson Valley Middle School: Sadie Alexander and Macey Wunderlich
-Mountain Valley Middle School student Eva Gurule became the 2023 Comal Speaks champion December 1.
-The Comal Speaks finalists are pictured here. Front row from left is Addison Bemis, Matteo Jofre, Cora Busch, Matie Vargas Juarez, Eva Gurule, Olivia George and Kamari Reed; back row from left is Macey Wunderlich, Sadie Alexander, Juliet Ornes, Jose Jimenez-Lopez, Can Bilir, Delilah Anderson and Joel Nathan.