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December 2019 Issue of The Pioneer dedicated in memory of JSCC student Sloan Harmon

Amazing Race 2019

By Anna Jett

Pioneer Day and the Amazing Race were on September 27th of this year. Pioneer Day is to celebrate Jefferson State's homecoming. This annual event helps draws in crowds from all the campuses and is open to staff, alumni, and current students. Pioneer Day is an event I highly recommend participating in, in any way you can, because events like this bring us all closer together at JSCC.

This was a fun-filled day that had plenty of activities that you completed as a team. There were various events for every team to get through like a sack race, tug-of-war, an obstacle course, and singing your team's chant to the judges.

My favorite event that I participated in was one that involved a massive beach ball and noodles. My teammate and I swerved around the cones and put the ball in the miniature pool quickly before running off to our next event. There was so much going on; it was hard to keep track of everything. At the end of the event, there was an amazing lunch by JSCC's award-winning Culinary and Hospitality Institute.

Constitution Day 2019

By Anna Jett

This year's Annual Constitution Day involved the members of Jefferson State Speech and Debate Team and members of Sigma Chi Eta on a panel discussing the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment states, "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Most people think of this amendment as the "gun amendment." The panelists showed that the 2nd amendment was so much more than that.

During this discussion, we all had a lot to say about the amendment and how it relates to things happening today. The panelists spoke up about how they thought soft targets such as schools, malls, and churches should be better protected. There was no disagreement that soft targets do need better protection.  However, some said there should be metal detectors or a police presence at every entrance of these places.

There was a debate with this saying that if there was a police presence, people may be racially targeted. Panelists talked about how regulations of guns may or may not work even in ideal conditions. At the end of the panel, audience members were free to ask the panelists questions, and some people did end the panel on a high note with audience participation.

Informative Speak-off Held November 12

By Connie Caskey

Sigma Chi Eta and the Speech & Debate Team hosted a speech competition on November 12th at the Shelby Campus. Students currently taking SPH 106 and SPH 107 from all campuses were invited to enter the contest and present an informative speech from their corresponding class. The winners were Roderick Parker, Joseph Blake Bice, and William Miller. Marisa Martin received an honorable mention for her speech.

Judges for the contest included faculty as well as members of Speech & Debate Team and Sigma Chi Eta. Heaven Sheppard and Kelvin Thomas were the featured judges from the Speech & Debate Team with Joseph Honeycutt of Sigma Chi Eta judging alongside.

Speeches were judged in the areas of organization, content/research, and delivery. The top 3 presentations were awarded gift certificates of $75, $50, & $25 to the Pioneer Bookstore.

My JSCC Speech and Debate Team Experience

By Heaven Sheppard

On the team, we compete against other Speech and Debate teams in International Public Debate Association as well as in individual events such as Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speaking.

IPDA is a type of debate where you choose a topic and are given 30 minutes to research and prepare a case as either the affirmative or negative speaker. Topics can be related to politics or pop culture or anything in between. You then argue against a student from another college or university in a 26-minute debate in front of a judge who decides the winner.

Impromptu Speaking is a favorite event of mine. In this event you are given a quotation and then have a total of seven minutes to prepare and deliver a well-organized speech.  

As this is my second year on the team, I have been able to travel quite a bit. We have traveled to tournaments in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Tennessee. In fact, the last tournament we attended was at Middle Tennessee State University on November 1st-3rd. It was an easy 3-hour ride in the JSCC van traveling to compete against 17 other colleges and universities. Just in the novice division, which is beginner debaters, there were 63 students competing! Out of those 63, all 5 of Jefferson State students took home a trophy for making it into elimination rounds. In total we took home 9 trophies including the Top Community College award and the most prestigious, the Bennet Strange Power Award which represents the team who had the best preliminary win ratio out of all the schools there.

As the President of the Jefferson State Speech and Debate Team, my experience from this team has been the most influential in my life. Without this opportunity I may have never found my passion for debate or my goal to be a lawyer. I have gained many skills in communication, research, and argumentation. Before this team, I would have never imagined getting up to talk in front of an audience let alone winning awards for doing it! This team has opened many doors for me and for my future. I can truly say that being on the JSCC Speech and Debate team has been life-changing and that I hope everyone can experience something as wonderful as this team.

If you would like more information about joining our team, please contact Dr. Janice Ralya [Email:]

Spotlight Drama Club

By Lesley Warren

The Spotlight Drama Club continues to grow and now has members on all four campuses! These energetic students love to entertain and leap at any opportunity to show off their writing, directing, and performing skills.

You may have seen them at PioneerCon where they presented two original short plays and gave a dramatic reading of A.R. Gurney’s unsettling one-act “The Problem.” You couldn’t miss their vibrant yellow shirts at the Amazing Race, and their spooky stories and readings for Halloween celebrations at the Pell City and Clanton campuses were a hit. Spotlight’s fall production, You Can’t Beat the House, was a huge success with 18 students involved on and offstage and over 100 in attendance.

Spotlight’s plans for the spring are just as ambitious. The club’s co-advisor, Lesley Warren, will direct a full production to be performed at The Center for Education and Performing Arts in Pell City (CEPA), students will join in SKD’s annual Evening of Performances on February 3rd, and (BIG NEWS) students on all four campuses will direct one-act plays to be performed collaboratively at CEPA on March 12th and hopefully have an encore performance at the beautiful performing arts center at the Clanton Campus shortly thereafter.

Interested in getting involved? Email Lesley Warren at and be sure to keep an eye on your email for information regarding upcoming auditions and performances. Life is full of drama, so why not join the club?