It was a crisp and chilly evening on March 28, but spirits were high at the United Methodist Church in Burlingame. Everyone had gathered for the Area H4 Spring Speech Contest, where three clubs were represented by members competing in the Table Topics and International speech contests. After some last-minute organizing, completing of documents and eating of food, the contest was ready to begin.
First up was the Table Topics portion of the competition. The three contestants were each asked, “How have high gas prices affected you personally?” Each took a different tack in answering the question. One contestant spoke of her desperation with trying to save gas, going so far as to say that she wished that camels could store gasoline instead of water! Another struck a defiant tone and insisted that high gas prices did not affect her at all. She felt that since it was out of our control, it was not worth worrying about. Our club’s representative in the contest, Platon, took a pragmatic approach. He first got the audience’s attention by noting how gas prices have more than doubled during the time that he owned his car. The he spoke of how we could all not only save on our gas expenses, but also lead healthier lives by carpooling or even biking to work.
After a brief intermission, next up was the International Speech contest. Again, our three contestants all enchanted the audience with their presentations. One Toastmaster spoke of her love of mystery novels and explained how there are actually different types of mystery genres. She noted that her favorite was the “cozy” and implored the audience to look up any author in the genre, such as Agatha Christie. Another contestant spoke of the joys and adventures of her grandchildren and demonstrated how they may be little, but how they can always surpise us with their intelligence and humor. Peninsula Toastmaster’s own Arnold demonstrated how the little thing mattered through vingettes and examples spanning a wide variety of topics such as politics, the military and education. Arnold also spoke of his own experiences, both professionally and personally, that really helped the audience to connect with his stories.
In the end, while Platon and Arnold may not have collected trophies, they both gained somthing much more valuable: the experience of speaking in front of a large crowd of new people. They both gave wonderful speeches and did Peninsula Toastmasters proud. Everyone had a good time at the contest and are eagerly awaiting the upcoming Division H contest on April 18.