Professor Roger Stallings and student Felicia Poteet

The day is etched in Felicia’s Poteet’s memory.
“Two years ago my husband came home with a puppy, and I was afraid because it was an American pit bull terrier,” she began her speech, which earned top honors at the third Roger Stallings Student Speech Contest at College of the Mainland.
The Texas City resident interspersed her story of growing to love American pit bull terriers with the history of the breed created for bear and bull-baiting. Growing in favor in the 20th century, the breed triumphed when Sergeant Stubby, a type of pit bull, became the most-decorated World War I dog for exploits including capturing an enemy spy.
“It is a strong, confident and enthusiastic breed that makes a good family pet but surprisingly is not a good guard dog,” she continued.
Clearly weaving a narrative, Poteet earned the highest score among semifinalists Maegen Hall and Jalyn Howell.
“I loved her speech because it was well researched, and her passion for the topic was undeniable,” said her speech instructor Roger Stallings, a 36-year COM professor for whom the contest is named.
Poteet’s speech, while informative, reflected her change of heart toward the winsome animal.
“Had I not taken the time to research the breed and understand them, I would not have the dog I have today,” Poteet concluded. “My dog, Honey, is my constant companion and confidante.”