Anthony Mootry, a sophomore at Southern Illinois University, won a $1,500 scholarship as one of five presenters offering opinions on civil discourse in media.
Mootry, a 2022 graduate of Homewood-Flossmoor High School, is majoring in sports administration. The program focused on disinformation and media literacy. He chose to focus his presentation on the impact media stories can have on athletes.
He cited the mental health issues of gymnast Simone Biles and the negative press she received after sharing her story of sexual assault by Dr. Larry Nassar who worked with her and others at U.S. Gymnastics. Nasser is in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography in 2017 and to sexual assault in 2018.
“The speech was on something that I care deeply about, being that I am an athlete. There are more and more athletes coming out about their personal lives and just the challenges they face. That’s why I used Simone Biles as an example,” Mootry said.
His communications professor encouraged him to apply for the scholarship. Winning it meant that he had to make a 6-8 minute presentation at a forum Nov. 3 hosted by the SIU School of Communication Studies and the Society for Civil Discourse. The forum is held each semester.
Public speaking is new to Mootry. At H-F, he was a member of the track team, student government, the student ambassador program, and the arts honors program focusing on photography.
He wasn’t on the speech or debate teams at H-F, so he practiced his delivery before the Nov. 3 program. He said he thought his presentation went well and he had a good time.
“It took me out of my comfort zone,” Mootry said. “I was more comfortable than uncomfortable.” He considers his presentation as good training. He hopes to become an athletic director on the college level and knows that “I need to be aware of all these different things that are going to affect the people that I’m there to serve.”
Mootry, of Flossmoor, is the son of Aisha Mootry and Anthony Mootry Sr.