“My name is Jordan Shiu, and this is a shoe.”
Those were the words of Jordan Shiu ‘20 as he rallied the crowd of ‘Iolani’s seventh to twelfth graders in April in his attempt to capture votes for the as the next year’s proconsul.
Shiu‘s humor and speech delivery won over the Upper School student body and helped him to move to Speech and Debate Nationals.
Shiu joined the ‘Iolani Speech and Debate club this school year, participating mainly in the category Humorous Interpretation. He didn’t think much of it, assuming he would just be doing it for fun, but with the piece “The Internet is a Distraction — OH LOOK A KITTEN,” Shiu placed second in the 2019 Hawaii Speech League Tournament in the Humorous Interpretation category.
In addition to incorporating humor into his speeches, Shiu performs with strong projection and delivery, exudes poise, and possesses a natural ability to connect with his audience.
“Jordan is an extrovert who draws energy from connecting with others,” said History teacher Heather Muraoka. “He reads the room and sees the audience as people he can have a conversation with, rather than a intimidating presence. This makes him a warm and persuasive speaker the audience naturally roots for.”
Public speaking can be intimidating for many people. The fluttering stomach butterflies, racing heart, sweaty palms, and tremoring hands. Grumpy judges scribbling on score sheets. Overthinking the possibility of forgetting all of your lines and be left standing awkwardly in front of the crowd of people. So many things could go wrong with public speeches, but when Shiu gets on stage, he thrives off the risk.
“There is no metaphoric dam strong enough to hold back his energy,” said Test Prep Coordinator Jeff Andrews, “Although many of those who choose the humorous interpretation category are usually animated performers as well, Jordan excels at focusing any of his nervous, anxious energy into hilarious moments on stage.”
As Shiu reacts to the audience, his fearlessness leads him to make choices unlike any other competitor. Despite his natural humor, Shiu still puts in hours of practice to perfect his routine.
“When I practice, I stand up, close the door to my room, face the wall, and start my speech,” Shiu said. “Like most things, you do better when you practice and prepare. There are definitely people out there who are more talented actors and performers than I am. So for me personally, practicing with my speech coaches and by myself is very important.”
Thanks to his diligence and the hard work of the Iolani Speech team coaches, Mrs. Morimoto, Mrs. Muraoka, and Mr. Andrews, Shiu has gotten very far in his first year of Speech and Debate. This year, five other outstanding students will continue on to Nationals: Matthew Sohn ‘19, Maddy Heyler ‘21, Emily Tom ‘21, Sam Rivers ‘19, and Maria Stevenson ‘19. In June, Shiu and the five will represent ‘Iolani in Dallas, Texas, hoping to bring home the national title. Good luck to all!