HCC’s new speech teacher helps students find their voice


Courtesy of Evie Simmons D'Amico

D’Amico and her family enjoying the outdoors.

Evie Simmons D’Amico feels blessed to be able to work in her hometown. D’Amico is a proud Plant City native who teaches speech at HCC. The majority of her classes are online, but her office is on the Plant City campus.

As a high school student, D’Amico was a dual enrollment student at HCC. Upon graduation, she transferred to USF.

There, she quickly realized her interest in Communication courses, especially Discourse Analysis. She is intrigued by communication and believes that being able to analyze communication with theories and research is an incredible tool. Her favorite non-major class was kickboxing. She says it was a fantastic way to release stress and refocus during a rigorous term. D’Amico was involved with the Athletic Department, Greek Life, and Shriner’s Hospital along with her normal coursework.

D’Amico values the technical knowledge she acquired about communication in school, but the most important thing she learned was to respect and appreciate her ‘voice’. Her education gave her ‘the confidence, experience and knowledge’ to not only articulate her voice but to retain it as well.

After completing her degree, D’Amico’s first job was teaching Public Speaking to TECO employees. She continues to teach at TECO through HCC. D’Amico taught Middle School Language Arts in the STEM program before becoming part of Plant City HCC

I get to see students catch the speaking bug, find their confidence and share their ideas. It makes teaching so much fun.

— Evie Simmons D'Amico

Her colleagues have noted her enthusiasm as well. Dr. Carol Reid was impressed with D’Amico’s presentation for the Plant City Student Success Fest. The presentation was called “Fear Factor” and presented a creative idea if students get stressed by giving a speech. Reid said that students enjoyed the interactive aspect of “Fear Factor.”

When D’Amico thinks of a good teacher, she remembers her favorite teachers.

“Teachers like that leave a lasting impression, they see you as an individual, they know when to push for more effort and when to be supportive, they are passionate about their field, they energize the class, and they have high expectations. I am surrounded by great teachers and enjoy working with them to see students succeed,” D’Amico said.

Like other HCC teachers and staff members, D’Amico has an outside life. She thinks it is important to balance life with one’s favorite activities. She spends a lot of time outside with her family.

I have an active first grader and an adventurous husband.

— Evie Simmons D'Amico

They like to play golf and ride all the rides at amusement parks. They also ride horses and play on the farm, fish any chance they get and camp with Cub Scouts. In bad weather, they love going to Urban Air.

D’Amico’s advice to students is, “Go all in, and this applies to everything. When you [choose] to do something, you will never regret putting in your full effort. No matter how it turns out, you can be proud of knowing you did your best.” With her own life, she is focusing on all things positive.