Current News

Current news

Click on the “Club Articles” and the “More Club Articles”  sections above  for the following stories: THE 2017 CLUB #28 INTERNATIONAL SPEECH AND TABLE TOPICS CONTESTS ARE A FANTASTIC SUCCESS!! Renee Ellis, Zaq Perez, Nick Toporkov and  Ben Rodriguez   earn CC;  Detra Flood, Daphne Hart, Chi Simons, Susan Storma earns  ALB, ALS, ACB, ACS, ACG and DTM Awards!!!!!!    Follow the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28’s Distinguished President’s Award progress!  Follow your Competent Communicator progress! Meet our new officers… and much, much more!


By Kenneth H. Walley DTM (December 2017)

WOW! It seems hard to believe that the year is almost over and Toastmasters Club #28 has added another exceptional chapter to our long history. Looking back at our 84th year, 2017 was filled with great challenges and even greater successes. This club once again exceeded all expectations! Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 is continuing a renaissance that can only guarantee that 2018, our 85th year will be our best year ever!

Looking back: We celebrated our 15th Presidents Distinguished Award in the last 13 years in June as well as for the ninth year in a row! We had perfect “7 or 7” attendance officer training in January and July at the Toastmaster Learning Institute earning us the coveted Dedicated Leader Award! This club produced some of its most impressive meetings in its existence along with growing our membership. Club #28 has become one of the most respected and admired Toastmasters clubs in Florida.

It was with great pride that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 would see in 2017 one of our members, Chi Simons DTM achieve the highest award that Toastmasters International can bestow upon an individual; earning the Distinguished Toastmasters Award! Speaking of leadership, Club #28 had Chi Simons DTM serve as an Area Director during the 2016-2017 term and another member, Daphne Hart ACS, ALB stepped up to serve as an Area Director for the 2017-2018 term! Both also earned “Triple Crown” awards for accomplishing leadership and communication goals. Make that three “Tripe Crown” winners, Detra Flood CC, ALB just achieved hers! 

Our International Speech and Table Topics contests in February were considered “brilliant masterpieces of oratory excellence” because of the high quality of the competition.  International Speeches by Ken Blake DTM, Detra Flood CC, ALB; Ken Walley DTM and Diana Walley ATMG, CL were all impressive. Ken Blake’s speech (“Lessons From Pretty Boy””) would later see him compete in the Area 31 Contest.

Ken Blake DTM, Ken Walley DTM, Daphne Hart ACS, ALB and Latisha Simpson all competed in the Table Topics Contest and excelled but Daphne added yet another trophy to her contest championships to go with those from last year. (Daphne would go on to win the Area, also for the second year in a row!) By all accounts, it was a remarkable evening for Club #28.

In August, the Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests proved to be just as magical an experience where every contestant in both contests excelled. Brenda Smith ACB, CL gave a memorable speech for the Evaluation Contest that was reviewed expertly by Zaq Perez CC, Diana Walley ATMG, CL, Latisha Simpson and Ken Walley DTM. Zaq won his first Club #28 contest with an excellent evaluation.

Brilliant Humorous Speeches were given by Ken Walley DTM, Zaq Perez CC, Renee Ellis CC, CL and Chi Simons DTM. Ken W. out dueled the rest of the competition with a very funny speech titled “So This Is Hell”.  Ken went on to win 2nd place at the Area level! It should be noted that many other Club #28 members either competed or served as functionaries in the Area, Division and District contests.

Some of the best meetings that Club #28 has ever had (84 years is a lot of wonderful meetings) were produced in 2017! Two come to mind right away: the “Home is Where the Heart Is” January 19th meeting with Toastmaster Emily Ceskavich and the “Gun Control” theme meeting of November 2nd hosted by Alphaeus Flood. Other amazing meetings included Renee Ellis CC, CL’s “Winging It” theme meeting on 7/20 and her “Hurricane Fun Facts” meeting in September. For that matter… any meeting Renee was the toastmaster of was amazing. Incredible meetings happened like the “A Few of My Favorite Things” theme meeting with Latisha Simpson, the “Clichés” meeting with Ken Blake DTM and we had two “New Beginnings” meetings one in January and another in July. Bob Steg ACB recently led a wonderful “Thanksgiving” theme meeting. Joey Jacobshagen’s “Music” theme meeting was a hit! Of course, our “Halloween” meeting had witches, ghosts and two Batmen. My pick for favorite meetings in 2017 were the many “Speech Marathon” meetings put together by Jack Wharton ACS, ALB and Steve Wood CC, CL! What a blast! Honestly, there were so many great meetings this year, it would be impossible to list them all. See the “past meetings” section of this website and take a fantastic walk down memory lane.

If the meetings were awesome, the speeches were spectacular! Who can forget the speeches?  Daphne Hart ACS, ALB gave some of the most memorable speeches in Club #28 history such as “Time Management”, “Sweet Spot”, “The ‘F’ Word”, “Destiny: The Story of Esther”, “How the Tiger Got it’s Stripes” and “The Table”.

Matching Daphne speech for speech was the remarkable performances of Susan Storma ACB, ALB with brilliant speeches such as “”The Wonderful World of Spectroscopy”, “Snakes!”, ”The Current Wars”, “Spider Mums”, “Bucket List Alaska” andI Should Have Gone to the Store Myself” 

Renee Ellis CC, CL came in with “Get High on Barbie!”, “New Car Pony Smell”, “The Rest of the Story” and “We Need to Talk About It”. More wonderful speeches came from Linda Klein with “We Are Twins” and “The Great Chicago Fire!Detra Flood CC, ALB had unforgettable speeches titled “Gifts are Like Super Heroes”, “Where’s Waldo?” and “This ‘L’ Stands For…”. Zaq Perez CC wowed us with “My Journey to Becoming a CPA” and “An Empty Cup”, among others. Nick Toporkov CC made us think with speeches like “Fallacies of Our Mind” and “Is It Fair?Diana Walley ACG, CL produced “I Will Walk Again!” and “Who’s Alien Is This?

Every week we had another classic speech such as Chi Simons DTM’s “Husband Material”, Walk Jones DTM’s “The Importance of RelationshipsMarie Loeffler DTM’s “Dealing with Change”, Joey Jacobshagen’s “Being Yourself”, Daniel Gutierrez’s “A Moment in My Life I Will Never Forget”, Emily Ceskavich’s “My Big Brother”, Lily Phuong-Tang’s  “Coming To America Was a Miracle” and Bob Steg ACB’s remarkable “Learning a Second Language is Harder Than You Think.” Every one of these was a brilliant speech and… This is just a sampling of the brilliant speeches I heard this year at Club #28, the list of excellent speeches seems to go on forever!


The Ice Breaker speeches were truly amazing! Our first Ice breaker came on the February 2, meeting when Zaq Perez CC gave an excellent Ice Breaker “What Brought Me to Toastmasters”. After that the floodgates opened with remarkable Ice Breaker speeches:

Lily Phuong-Tang: “I Am Lily Phuong-Tang!” (2/9/17)

Vincent Duong-Son: “All About Me” (2/16/17)

Emily Ceskavich: “My Greatest Fear (and why I want to keep it)” (2/23/17)

Robert Bacchus: “The Eighth Stand” (3/26/17)

Alvaro Mejia: “Alvaro” (3/26/17)

Livia Petraru: “The American Dream” (3/30/17)

Tahreek Duncan: “Beauty in Death” (4/13/17)

Tea Tran: “What Makes a Person a Person?” (4/20/17)

Meg Given: “Tea” (4/27/17)

Daniel Gutierrez: “Efficiency, Hobbies and Interests” (4/27/17)

David Hundeby: “Get Ready” (8/24/17)

Emma Hutto: “Living Up to My Name” (11/30/17)

All of these Ice Breakers speeches were moving and inspirational accounts of amazing people in our mist. Ice Breakers coming up next up are Jordan Hutto, Michael Adams and Eric Howard who are all scheduled for December! Everyone has a story to tell and we heard some wonderful stories!

It would be a great mistake to overlook those who served as club officers over the past year and worked so hard to create a truly positive learning environment such as is Club #28. Our two Presidents over the past year were Club #28 “pillars” Jack Wharton ACS, ALB and Detra Flood CC, ALB. Both proved that they were leaders of the highest rank. Our Vice Presidents of Education were Steve Wood CC, CL and Renee Ellis CC, CL and they made the “toughest officer position” look easy. The Vice Presidents of Membership were Detra Flood CC, ALB and David Hundeby. The club gained many new members thanks to their efforts. “Getting the word out” as Vice Presidents of Public Relations were Emily Ceskavick and Alphaeus Flood. Handling the money for both terms was the invaluable Zaq Perez CC as our Treasurer. Linda Klein and Daniel Gutierrez served as Secretaries. We also had wonderful Sergeants at Arms in 2017: Renee Ellis CC, CL and Latisha Simpson. From the members of Club #28, both past and present, we sincerely thank you for your leadership!

I wish everyone at Orlando Toastmasters Club #28, its members, past members, guests, friends and family; along with all of those on the Herndon Library staff, a very merry and a very happy holidays and the most wonderful and joyous of new years!

Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Toastmastering!


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