Articulating Success

March 29, 2018

Russell Guerrero

When San Antonio College speech instructor Justin Blacklock was a high school student in Corpus Christi, he faced a dilemma about his future. Should he study speech communication or voice in college? The decision became easier to make when he received a scholarship to study voice at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).

But after a little over a year at UTSA, Blacklock realized that he needed to rethink his choice. He found he had a stronger affinity for the spoken word.

"SAC gave me a reset button," said Blacklock on his decision to leave UTSA to study speech communication at SAC.

While a student, one of his classmates told him about the speech team and Blacklock contacted SAC instructor Jolinda Ramsey.  "She took me under her wing and involved me in the speech program," recalled Blacklock. "The rest is history."

As a member of the SAC speech team, Blacklock won honors at the Phi Ro Pi National Tournament. He also won a scholarship to Texas State University at San Marcos, where he received a bachelor's and master's in communication studies.

After teaching for a few years at Tarrant County College, Blacklock returned to SAC in 2015, where he is a speech instructor and director of the forensics program.

At SAC, he teaches Introduction to Speech Communication, Public Speaking, and Interpersonal Communication. The courses have been very popular and receive high marks from students.

"I think speech does a really good job of preparing students for public speaking situations - which makes them more marketable when they leave school," said Blacklock.

In addition, Blacklock is in charge of the small but mighty SAC speech team, taking over the duties from his former mentor Ramsey. The team competes in both the spring and fall semester traveling to tournaments across the state. Over the years, the SAC speech team has accrued a reputation for having a successful program.

Blacklock enjoys teaching and coaching speech - although it can be hectic at times.

"I not only feel a strong tie to speech and forensics but especially to San Antonio College," he said, adding that he feels good about giving back to a community that gave so much to him. 

"I also really enjoy seeing my students do well, progress, and move on," he said. "SAC, in general, does a great job of connecting with students, especially with those who may feel a little bit lost and who are trying to figure out what they want. They can do that here."