“Where has the time gone?” I hear myself asking as I write this. With the Easter break followed closely with May Day holiday, it seems ages since our last meeting. That was on Monday 24 April, when we had held a “normal” Club meeting not at our normal Bourne Hall venue, but at Reed’s School in Cobham, giving the 40 members of Reed’s Toastmasters a taste of a typical ESC meeting.
Toastmaster for the evening was our Vice President Education, Peter Parker, who used every opportunity to practice and polish his humorous speaking. He was joined by resident comedian Kevin Perkins’ who used his Warm Up session to ask: “What makes you happy?” – a super question to get the meeting off to a rousing positive start. We were then wowed by two prepared speeches given by Reed’s speakers James Cobb and Richard Reay, both citing personal stories to illustrate their messages: the enduring wonder of classical music, and taking time to appreciate what you have now. They were followed by Dr. Aishi Lim, with a curious speech entitled “Your favourite parking space is gone” (all about idiots and smoking, apparently…) and Charlie Warshawski, dressed in an expensive Val d’Isere ski jacket. Charlie used several props and sound devices to illustrate the highs and not so highs of taking his family of four kids on their first ever ski trip.
Well done to Richard Reay for winning the Best Speech vote – a fine demonstration of the power of speaking from the heart, exposing your vulnerabilities and connecting with the audience. Points all noted by Dave Goodman who evaluated Richard’s speech, thus securing Dave the Best Evaluator vote against stiff competition from fellow Evaluators Adam Jones, Morgan Davies and Lauren Smith.
“Making the best of bad situations” was the theme of Sonia Pritchard’s Table Topics session. It was marvellous to see how well the Reed’s students handled impromptu speaking. Congratulations to Brandon How for his well-crafted speech on the virtues of skipping school to attend a music festival, winning him the Best Topics vote.
General evaluator Penny Williams noted how impressed she was to see the stunning progress made by all the Reed’s Toastmasters over the past 8 months.
ESC has been sponsoring the Youth Leadership programme at Reeds for over 15 years, thanks to past member June McCullough who responded to an initial request from Reed’s teachers Val and Derek Wakefield. The baton has now been passed to teachers Sasha Gibbins and Terry Ha, with Patrick Ebbs taking the ESC lead as Youth Leadership co-ordinator. ESC also run this programme at Glyn School in Epsom.
Patrick and myself were honoured to be invited to the Reed’s Toastmasters’ final meeting on Friday 28 April. Unlike any of our ESC “normal” meetings, this was an elaborate black tie event for the student members and their parents, with the “normal” Reed’s three course cordon bleu dinner with fine wine…. All 40 of the Reed’s Toastmasters spoke, either introducing a speaker, making a speech or undertaking an evaluation. It was a truly fabulous evening, not just because of the great food and company, but the absolute abundance of confident and compassionate speaking by all the students. Congratulations to all and good luck in the forthcoming A level exams.