Past meetings 2017 – current

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Past meetings 2006-2011

Past meetings 2012-2014

Past meetings 2015-2016

The Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 December 12, 2017 “Holiday Traditions and Trivia” theme meeting got everyone into the holiday spirit! For the thoughts of the day to start the meeting, Jordan Hutto reminded us that “God will never give you more than you can handle” and “the only goal that you can not achieve is the one that you give up on.” Club #28 President Detra Flood CC, ALB announced that Emma Hutto was our “Toastmaster of the week” noting her enthusiasm as a new Toastmaster and for giving her Ice Breaker last week. Susan Storma ACB, ALB was our meeting leader making the season bright with lots of fantastic facts about the Christmas season. One of them was that during the Reformation many of the Christmas traditions that were celebrated were thought of as “pagan” and therefore Christmas was banned for a time! Still, the people kept it going even at dire risk! Susan also told us that throughout the millenniums, Christmas was often seen as a time of truce during war. She also gave us a “holiday timeline” which included “The 12 days of Christmas” (published in England in 1780 and used to teach children to count), the start of Christmas cards (the first one designed by J.S. Horsley in 1843), Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” album (1942) and different holiday meals from around the world. She also shared a few of her own family holiday traditions! Another festive contributor was our Table Topics Master Chi Simons DTM who gave us some gifts of impromptu speaking opportunities such as the question “What are your plans for this holiday season?” to Daniel Gutierrez. Daniel said that he was planning to “do some cooking” with the family, taking a few trips, attending a performance of “The Nutcracker” and visiting a few friends in Miami. Asked what she would do if she had to prepare a Holiday meal with less than two hours until the guests arrive; Emma Hutto said that she would “call the guests and ask them to bring something!” She would then “run out to Target, by some drinks and frantically clean up the house.” David Hundeby was asked if he had a New Year’s resolution. He did. “I am going to obtain my Masters in Taekwondo and start training for the Iron Man Triathlon later in the year.” Our guest Jose Rosario told about what he loves to during the holidays. “I love the music and the parties” He said. “I just enjoy the joy in the air and the atmosphere at this time.” Jordan Hutto was asked what he could have done to get a lump of coal in his stocking. He said that just being fresh out of the Marine Corp, he “speaks his mind a little to freely sometimes” and that in the civilian world, he has not “developed a tolerance for immaturity yet.” Alphaeus Flood was asked if he had a “Christmas wish” Al had a few of them. His list included “That bit-coins keep going up in value, a new house, a big new house, a nice car, peace on earth and a wish for Jordan a smooth adjustment back to the “real world.” Our other guest Jude Plaisir was asked if he could only keep one thing and lose everything else what would it be. Jude answered it was his children. “They are the most important, precious things in my life. I adore them. I went through a lot to have them and I would do anything for them.” Three more presents under the proverbial oratorical tree were our speeches for the evening, starting with Renee Ellis CC, CL and her offering titled “The Great Escape: One Shoe at a Time”. Renee once worked for the Orange County Courthouse project. “It was a very big deal” said Renee “I was so excited.” The job did not however turn out like she expected. “After a year most of the original people had quit. The work atmosphere was infested with pettiness and overbearing bosses. Then there was the constant pounding of the construction noise.” She planned her escape and one day she landed an interview a dream job! With everything riding on this chance, Renee got ready for the big day. The only problem was that on the way to the interview, her shoes came apart! Rather than go barefoot, she “somehow shuffled in” to her meeting. “Don’t look at my feet!” Renee thought. Did she get the job? The second speaker was Linda Klein who gave a brilliant speech titled “Getting the Most Out of Time”. Linda gave us an insight as to what it was like to be retired. When you are working, you have little time and time is very valuable. When you are retired you have plenty of time and it is still valuable.” Linda has used her time to learn to ballroom dance, to learn to play bridge and even join Toastmasters! She told about how she has found great meaning in volunteering to help others for a church organization. “If you waste money, all you lose is money but if you waste time, you have lost a part of your life.” Our third speaker, unable to get her Power-point presentation working, went ahead without the projector! Lily Phuong-Tang’s “Holiday”, told us of the Vietnamese tradition of the Banh Chung for Tet (the Lunar New Year) and the story of King Hung Vuong who offered to award his throne to the best meal prepared of his 18 sons. His poorest son, Lieu received in a dream a recipe of rice, beans and pork wrapped in banana leaves. His dish won the heart (and throne) of his father and to this day is served as a traditional feast in homes everywhere during the New Year in Viet-Nam. “Different versions of this dish, with and without pork represent the love of the children for their parents and a way to gather together as family.” Said Lily. Much like children sitting on Santa’s lap, our speakers each asked for treasured feedback. This was provided by General Evaluator Diana Walley ATMG, CL and her merry band of Evaluators Ken Walley DTM (for Renee), Latisha Simpson (for Linda) and Ken Blake DTM (for Lily). Also bringing goodies were Santa’s Technical Elves (STE): Grammarian Joey Jacobshagen, Timer: David Hundeby, Naughty or Nice Spy Alphaeus Flood, AH Counter Emma Hutto and Vote Counter Daniel Gutierrez. As our evening “wrapped up”, our two guests, Jude Plaisir and Jose Rosario both made exultant and joyful comments about this wonderful gathering! This meeting was the trimming of a beautiful Toastmaster tree.

[From the meeting minutes by Secretary Daniel Gutierrez with notes from Ken Walley DTM] Meeting 11/30/17. Theme: Holiday Shopping. People Attending the meeting: Susan Storma ACB, ALB; Renee Ellis CC, CL, Detra Flood CC, ALB; Alphaeus Flood, Ken Walley DTM, Daphne Hart ACS, ALB; Daniel Gutierrez, David Hundeby, Chi Simons DTM, Jordan Hutto, Emma Hutto, Linda Klein, Lily Phuong-Tang, Latisha Simpson, Ken Blake DTM, Bob Steg ACB, Joey Jacobshaven. [17] Linda Klein and Joey Jacobshaven selected the thought of the day as “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” A quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt, an honorary member of Club #28. Club #28 President Detra Flood CC, ALB announced that Chi Simons DTM was our “Toastmaster of the Week” for her “Dependability, strong leadership and encouragement.”  Detra also announced the new officers (so far) for the upcoming January-June 2018 term that have accepted their positions: President: Renee Ellis CC, CL, VPE: Susan Storma ACB, ALB; VPM: David Hundeby, VPPR: Lily Phuong-Tang, Sergeant at Arms: Daniel Gutierrez. Two positions are left unfilled are that of Secretary and Treasurer. We had three guests: Tina Smith, Kate Murray and Denver Clarke. Kate pledged to join the club! Welcome Kate! Toastmaster: Ken Walley DTM. Ken gave us a number of interesting facts about holiday shopping including that there have been “7 known deaths during ‘Black Friday’ and over 100 injuries, mostly due to trampling. Other trivia Ken mentioned was that “more than the population of Japan shops on Black Friday in America”, “Cyber Monday sales topped 3.45 billion dollars in 2016” and “the average American spends over 750.00 during the holidays on gifts.” Ken also gave us a list of the “hottest toys” for 2017; #1 being “Fingerlings by WowWee.” The other functionaries helping Ken get through the meeting, (AKA) the “Word Shopping Maniacs” (WSM) were Grammarian Susan Storma ACB, ALB; AH Counter David Hundeby, Timer Latisha Simpson, Security Camera Monitor Daniel Gutierrez and Vote Counter: Jordan Hutto. Our Table Topics Master was Renee Ellis CC, CL. First question: “Do you think stores should be open on Thanksgiving Day?”  Responded by Susan Storma ACB, ALB. Susan said “No!” that “Thanksgiving was for family and a time of peace and reflection.” She said that we should “go back to what is important. If you must shop you can go on line that day.” [:53s} Second question: “How do you do shopping? In the store or from home?” Responded by Joey Jacobshagen. Joey answered that he “does both” he noted that there are good things about going to a store and “finding things I had not planned on. Like when I bought my dad a book at Barnes & Noble.” “On the other hand,” said Joey, “online can be convenient, but not as much fun.” [1:12] Third question: “Do you prepare to do your shopping, or do you wait until the last minute.” Responded by Jordan Hutto. Jordan spoke about his tendency “not to buy gifts”, instead he plans to spend time with friends and family during the holidays. He noted that he did not like shopping and thought some shoppers, not all, could be rude. [1:02] Fourth question: “When is the best time to go shopping?” Responded by Lily Phuong-Tang. Lily agreed with Jordan in that she does not like to go out shopping. One day “an angel saved me” by introducing her to gift cards. “They are easy to get and give and everyone can get what they want, and everyone is happy!” [1:24] Fifth question: “When you are shopping do you go alone or accompanied by somebody?” Responded by Kate Murray. Kate remembered a time when she was little while shopping with her mother at JC Penny and looking at the toy catalogs. “They had them on a rack just low enough so that the kids could reach them.” She remembered how “special it seemed” to be with her mom during the Christmas season. Now she “much prefers to shop with others because of my past with my mom and it is just a lot more enjoyable.” [1:24] Speaker #1: Emma Hutto. Ice Breaker. Title “Living Up to My Name”. Time 4:09 minutes. While preparing her Ice Breaker Emma looked up the meaning of her name. “Emma means two things, from the German ‘universal’ and also ‘whole or complete’.” She said growing up in Mexico she felt anything but whole and that often she was outcast. “In my school I was the only girl and the boys shunned me.  Later I learned my father had wanted a boy.” This only made me more determined. She pushed herself to excel in sports and to have the best grades in her school. Her success did not stop with showing up the boys at school or her father’s approval. Emma later became successful as an adult. “We are whole as a person, as people. We can say it is OK to be who we are.” This was an inspiring first speech! Speaker #2: Detra Flood CC, ALB. Speech #7 Advanced Leadership Bronze Manuel [?] 2B. Title: “Evaluate to Motivate”. Time 11:12 minutes. Detra following the Toastmaster International Better Speaker Series explained the basics for giving excellent evaluations. She also told why it was important to help in the improvement by giving useful analysis of speeches besides encouragement. She told the story of “Toastmaster Frank” a toastmaster who never received any advice out of fear of discouragement, only to have him see no progress in his speaking skills and worse, public humiliation after a presentation! Detra explained in detail how to craft a helpful, meaningful evaluation that will bring out the best result for every speaker. Speaker #3: Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. Speech #7 Research Your Topic. Title: “The Table”. Time: 7:10 minutes. “Etiquette matters!” said Daphne “dinning has become a lost art.” Daphne explained how she taught young people the right way to dine at a formal dinner party as part of her program to reach out to disadvantaged youth but realized that over the past 20 or so years adults have no clue either. “Twenty or 30 years ago rudeness did not exist at the levels in society it does today.” Using a table setting, Daphne explained the correct silverware, plates and glassware placement with simple ways to remember. “Make you your left hand a ‘b’, for bread and the right hand a ‘d’ for drink and you know where they should be placed!” By the end of the speech we knew how to set a perfect table and had gained a little more culture. “Social graces” Daphne reminded us “are not passé!” General Evaluator: Alphaeus Flood. First Evaluator Bob Steg ACB Time: 3:26s Second Evaluator: Chi Simons DTM Time: 3:07s. Third Evaluator: Linda Klein Time: 2:27s. At the end of the meeting Ken Blake DTM announced the passing of an Orlando Toastmasters legend Barbara Bergstrom DTM. Barbara had been a Toastmaster for many years and was known as the founder of Eti-Keys a student character building and empowerment organization that has made a huge difference in the lives of countless kids from 7 to 18 in Central Florida. Awards: Best Table Topics: Kate Murray. Best Evaluator: Bob Steg ACB. Most Improved: Emma Hutto. Best Speaker: Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. Barbara will be missed.  This meeting was like finding the perfect gift!

We were all grateful for the November 16, 2017 “Thanksgiving” theme meeting, coming only a week before the holiday, the meeting gave us a time to reflect on and share our blessings. Diana Walley ATMG, CL started the meeting with a Thanksgiving thought from Oprah Winfrey: “Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.” Club #28 President Detra Flood CC, CL announced the “Toastmaster of the Week” as Susan Storma ACB, ALB whom she sited for her amazing attitude and brilliant speeches. Bob Steg ACB as our Toastmaster (his 1st time at Club #28) spoke eloquently about the Thanksgiving holiday as a time for family and food. Bob, remarked about how the delightfulness of cooking, or just enjoying food; brings people together. He spoke of some of his personal Thanksgiving memories and family traditions as well as giving us some history on the holiday. Bob related that “Abraham Lincoln first declared the last Thursday of November as a national holiday of Thanksgiving. In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt changed the date to the 3rd Thursday of the month to boost holiday shopping sales. This created a lot of chaos even earning the name ‘Franksgiving’ as a satirical term for Thanksgiving.” We were also appreciative for Latisha Simpson as our Table Topics Master! Latisha brought a feast of questions to the table for our members and guests. The first question “Tell us about your holiday traditions?’ was asked of returning member Steve Wood CC, CL. Steve joked that his year’s new “tradition” would be “moving his stuff to a hotel” while in the process of relocating to a new home. Said Steve for-longingly; “I guess being hungry might be a new tradition for me.”  Another very welcomed back past member, Betsy Carvajal CC was asked if asked had to get rid of a meat for Thanksgiving dinner what meat would it be? Reminding us that she was a vegetarian, Betsy said she would “start with Turkey!” She also noted that her family might not be very happy with that. She also said that next year at this time she will be visiting China. “They probably will have less meat there.” Jordan Hutto was asked if he could “create a new holiday” what would it be. Jordan came up with “Stand Down Day” a day of “peace and relaxation” in which nobody has to work.” He lamented “why do we have to celebrate certain days anyway? We should each decide on what we want to celebrate!” Renee Ellis CC, CL was next with a question of what she was most thankful for. In an emotional answer, Renee said it was her family. “They are never far away when things get difficult.” Renee also mentioned her Aunt Rosie’s corn casserole as a treasured family tradition. Michael Adams spoke about some of his favorite holiday memories. One came to mind; going to a college basketball tournament this time every year with his brother. They have been doing it for 3 years now! Diana Walley ATMG, CL was asked how she would be spending Thanksgiving this year. She said that Ken and she would be having dinner with her family at the Golden Corral Buffet. She said they look forward to hearing her Uncle Ted’s crazy conspiracy theories. We were blessed with three sumptuous speeches by three of our most talented speakers starting with Lily Phuong-Tang’s 7th speech titled “Business in General”. Lily told of the history of the Trout Lake Farm that had gone through “many transitions” over 65 years to become an Amway company affiliate and is now in distribution to over 150 countries worldwide. She also showed us the course of a wide range of diversification in products and services over that time. Lily demonstrated different products from food items to cosmetics made available through the company. Lily stressed the point that “businesses must evolve and grow with the times to be successful.” This speech was an excellent showcase of business planning. The second speaker Detra Flood CC, CL gave us a mini-seminar on salesmanship titled “How to be a Successful Salesperson”. Detra covered many of the basic tools needed to “close a deal.” Among the many topics she covered were “put your focus on the buyer”, “use your listening skills”, “create value” and “radiate credibility.”  Detra then play-acted with her husband Alphaeus Flood to show us her skills in action by “selling” her book “Where’s My Tuesday?” to him. So good was this presentation that she actually sold a book during the follow-up question and answer period! Speaking last was Walk Jones DTM with his speech titled “The Importance of Relationships”. Walk noted that many organizations, from service clubs, to non-profit groups and even religious societies and churches are losing membership. He said that the main source of this decline is due to the inability of these organizations to create strong relationships. Walk spoke about mentoring and its importance, using a personal story about how his father mentor him on firearms safety that year later saved his own daughter’s life when her gun jammed as he was training her how to shoot. Walk noted that the most effective teachers are the ones who care and take time to build relationships. This was a much needed and valuable lesson both on the organizational and personal levels. These speakers were given good reason to be thankful due to the wise lessons taught them by General Evaluator Alphaeus Flood and his team of evaluators. Ken Walley DTM (for Lily), Renee Ellis CC, CL (for Detra) and Daphne Hart ACS, ALB (for Walk) all helped set the speaker’s oratorical tables.  The “Talkin’ Turkey Team” (TTT) carved up some tasty reports thanks to Grammarian David Hundeby, AH Counter Michael Adams, Timer and Video Gobbler Chi Simons DTM and Vote Counter Linda Klein. At the end of the meeting Emma Hutto reminded us that she was giving her Ice Breaker next week! Our guests and beloved former members Steve Wood CC, CL and Betsy Carvajal CC described our meeting like it was the pumpkin pie at the end of a feast. Really this meeting was so delicious it left stuffed full of wisdom and wonderful memories! It’s going to take a couple of weeks to walk it off! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 09, 2017 “Fundamentals of Leadership” meeting was a perfect example of how Toastmasters creates a forum for leadership ideas. Starting the meeting with an inspirational quote was Joey Jacobshagen from Violinist Isaac Stern “A Genius! I practice 14 hours a day! Then they call me a genius!” Club #28 President Detra Flood CC, CL announced that Diana Walley ATMG, CL was our “Toastmaster of the week”.  Detra sited Diana’s “dedication to overcoming any obstacles to play a part in the club.” Congratulations Diana! Our leader and Toastmaster on this evening was Alphaeus Flood. Alphaeus gave credit to the Marine Corps for setting an example of strong leadership guidelines which included the “14 Marine Corps Leadership Traits” (“JJDIDTIEBUCKLE”) or Justice, Judgment, Dependability, Integrity, Decisiveness, Tact, Initiative, Enthusiasm, Bearing, Unselfishness, Courage, Knowledge, Loyalty and Endurance. He covered the Leadership Principles of the Marines as well as “BAMCIS”; the 6 leading steps that can be utilized in our lives: “Begin Planning, Arrange for Reconnaissance and Coordination, Make Reconnaissance, Complete Plan, Issue Orders and Supervise! Also showing excellence in leadership was Ken Walley DTM coming prepared with some questions on leadership for our members and guests. His first question for David Hundeby “Who is a leader who inspired you?” David gave recognition to his father, and his scout master who he attributed the ability to “listen and give guidance.” David said that he gave him to tools to “learn from the group that you are leading.”  The second question was simply “Tell of a time when you oversaw a project or a group of people.” Michael Adams told how he took charge of a business class project at the University of Central Florida. He was able to achieve a “startup app deadline” and we assume, got an ‘A+’. What have you learned from being the President of a Toastmaster’s Club? Was asked of Detra Flood CC, CL. Detra said she learned the importance of delegation and teamwork. “I could not have done anything without the help of my fellow officers.” She also encouraged others to take on leadership roles. Noting that Alphaeus’ leadership them was based upon a Marie Corps model, Ken asked Jordan Hutto “How does Marine Corps leadership differ from civilian leadership?” Jordan mentioned that the Marines were more “aggressive” and “openly honest” in how they deal with their members as opposed to a “more relaxed and less serious” approach to employees in the outside business world. His wife Emma Hutto was asked to give a “1 to 2 minutes campaign speech on why we should vote for her to be the next mayor of Orlando.  Emma said that because she was new to Orlando, that she had “no allegiances” and that as a non-profit legal assistant, she had a background in helping others as well as “looking good in a suit.” Our guest Eric Howard was asked if failure had ever been a good thing for him. Eric admitted that he was “well acquainted with failure” and that he had learned more from failure than from success. He mentioned that when wrestling, his losses often showed him how he might succeed in future matches. Ken was also curious as to what Latisha Simpson would look for in someone who would work for her. She mentioned people who were dedicated to “the purpose rather than the job”. She said that she would for those who would want to “make a difference and to seek pride in their work and in themselves.”  The last question was for Kate Murray. When asked to tell us about her boss, she said that she was self-employed!  She said that her “clients are her bosses” and she told of one who she like to work with that challenged her to improve at her job. Kate said, “I learn a lot from them.” Three speakers and three brilliant speeches highlighted this evening. Renee Ellis CC, CL started by telling us a Brothers Grimm folk tale titled “The Vailant Little Tailor”! Renee transfixed us with a tale of how a meek tailor who swatted seven flies at once, built this small feat into becoming a king and marrying a beautiful princess! She told how the tailor was misunderstood as to have killed seven MEN with one blow and then how he went on to defeat two giants and an angry boar! Renee had us completely enraptured with this classic tale.  Bob Steg’s (ACB) “Learning a Second Language is Harder than You Think” incorporated Bob’s talent as a linguist with his wry sense of humor. We took a tour-de-force through the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the Russian, French, Portuguese, German, Spanish and even Japanese languages… laughing all the way! Bob’s speech was inventive, even educational and we loved every minute. The last speech was storytelling of a completely different kind by Diana Walley ATMG, CL with a speech titled “The True Story of How I Met Ken”.  Diana remembered telling her grandmother that “I’ll know the right man when I see him!” and then one day, welcoming her at the door of a friend’s Thanksgiving dinner was… Ken! She knew right then that “This was the guy!” Diana told how while she “fell in love with Ken” it took a lot of work to win him over, as “I liked Ken, Ken like Julie, Julie liked John and John liked me! In the end they worked it out and Diana got her man. These speeches significantly benefited from the leadership of Alphaeus Flood who was also serving as the General Evaluator. Showing wonderful teamwork under his tutelage were evaluators Detra Flood CC, CL (for Renee), Joey Jacobhagen (for Bob) and Lily Phuong-Tang (for Diana). The leadership of our Toastmasters Learning Investigators (TLI) teams also taught us many lessons thanks to Grammarian David Hunbeby, Ah Counter and Timer Latisha Simpson and Vote Counter Michael Adams. We also had four guests Xavier ______, Eric Howard, Kate Murray and Coco ______ all were excited about the meeting. Both Eric and Kate expressed interest in joining! Working together Club #28 produced a meeting that it’s leadership can truly be proud of!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 2, 2017 “Gun Control” meeting tackled head-on a highly controversial and often polarizing topic.  Renee Ellis CC, CL started the meeting with a favorite Club #28 quote from Eleanore Roosevelt “I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.” Renee observed that this quote sums up the Toastmasters philosophy perfectly. Club #28 President Detra Flood CC, CL announced that this week’s winner for the “Toastmaster of the Week” award was Daphne Hart ACS, ALB! She also heralded Club #28 as the winner of the “Dedicated Leader Award” for achieving three straight years of perfect officer training attendance! Leading our discussion on Gun Control as our Toastmaster was Alphaeus Flood who came prepared with an impressive amount of research. Alphaeus said that “This topic is important. First, we need to have this conversation and just as essential; we must listen and respect the viewpoints of others. I believe we have a lot to learn from each other.” Among the many things Alphaeus shared was the ease that he could obtain a gun due to his being a member of the military. “I can get a concealed weapons license just paying for it, filling out some paperwork and receiving it in less than two weeks.” He also told us about the steps needed to obtain a concealed weapon license. Alphaeus told us that keeping a list of gun owners was an illegal act and that to buy a gun in Florida only requires a three-day waiting period. He noted that states with “right to carry” laws have a lower violent crime statistic. He also covered the highly debated “take your gun to work” law and gun other legislation. Keeping the discussion going was Table Topics Master Latisha Simpson. Noting that having a control over personal security was a major reason people buy guns, she asked Walk Jones DTM “What do you wish you had more control over?” Walk answered “the kickback from my Glock!” He said that he owned a handgun and was taught how to use it at a police academy. He told a story about how police hold guns differently in modern times because “in the past an officer had to both shoot their weapon while holding on to their horse at the same time.” Detra Flood CC, CL was asked if there was a secret government agenda about gun control. She admitted being a “conspiracy theorist” and wondered if “Amazon, Google and the government were all working together to control us.”  Ken Walley DTM was asked if he knew any law that others may not know about. Ken instead spoke about a need for gun registration sighting the past tragedies that happened at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Colorado, at the Las Vegas massacre and at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. He noted that a shooter who “wanted to be the Joker from a Batman movie” was able to use the internet to get his hands on “an arsenal.”  Ken Blake DTM spoke about finding out that he did not qualify for a concealed weapons license class when it came up that he had a 3rd degree misdemeanor on his record that he did not even know about due to a stolen antique gun he once owned being re-sold to a gun collector! Our guest Eric Howard was asked if he knew any “silly laws”. He said that it was illegal to tie an elephant to a telephone pole in Alabama. Joey Jacobshaven was asked if he would own a gun. Joey said that he was raised in a “passive family” and would not own one. He also spoke about the need for “mental health care” to maybe “prevent future occurrences” of shootings. The last question was for Diana Walley ATMG, CL who asked if it was “guns or people” causing problems. Diana told of an incidence she saw on a TV court show about a man who was enraged about the bike paths in his neighborhood not being extended and went on a “psycho- rant” screaming at passing cars. She wondered what might happen if he a gun. We had three remarkable speeches starting with one by Lily Phuong-Tang titled “Helping Young People is Necessary!” Lily told how when she was a young girl she had to learn the English language after arriving from Viet-Nam while also taking classes to graduate from high school, which also happened to be in English. Remarkably she was able to do this! Or so she thought. As it was she was missing a single test in order to have the credits to graduate. Thankfully a guidance teacher saw the oversight and had her take the test. “Without her help, I would not have received my High School degree I had worked so hard for!” This inspired Lily to help other students to work though a system that is often very confusing and different from their own cultures. She challenged us to find a “young person and encourage them to succeed. Find just one.” The next speaker was Susan Storma ACB, ALB coming close to her Advance Communicator Silver award with a humorous speech titled “You Might as Well Laugh at it Now!” Her speech was on how often the humorous things in life will find you even at unexpected moments. She gave examples of how snakes are somehow attracted to her although she hates them. “What are the odds of that?” She also told of how a scene from the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” seemed to be reenacted in her real life during a visit to her father in the hospital. Susan brought to light how the humorous and strange in our lives gives us often unpredictably, a chance to stop and laugh… just when we need it the most. Our last speaker Daphne Hart ACS, ALB another Club #28 member racing towards her DTM; gave an inspiring speech titled “The ‘F’ Word”. “It is not the word you think” said Daphne. She spoke about how people are often held back by Fear and Failure. “Fear (as Zig Ziglar said) is only ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’ and ‘Failure’ is really ‘A Finding’… the chance for a new discovery!” Daphne related another “’F’ word”: Faith for a better tomorrow. As she said, “Faith, the finial ‘F’ word!” These brilliant and moving speeches were given the opportunity to be reviewed by a team of expert evaluators led by General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM. Bob Steg ACB (for Lily), Renee Ellis (for Susan) and Joey Jacobshaven (for Daphne) each gave reasoned, helpful and encouraging appraisals, with an emphasis on “praise”. The National Reasoning Association (NRA) also help keep this meeting tight on target thanks to Grammarian Linda Klein, Timer Walk Jones DTM, AH Counter Michael Adams and Vote Counter and Video Sharpshooter Latisha Simpson. At the end of the meeting Emma Hutto and Jordan Hutto who came in a bit late were given the opportunity to speak. Jordan called our meeting the “Best meeting so far” and was impressed by how the club could take on such a provocative subject and still show such respect for different opinions. Emma also liked how the club was open to having meetings themes like gun control. Our guest, Eric Howard was most positive about the evening and inquired about how to join! This meeting was another example of Club #28 Toastmaster excellence.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 26, 2017 “Halloween” theme meeting did the mash. We did the monster mash. We did the mash. It was a graveyard smash. Sorry, got carried away (no pun intended) there. New member Michael Adams started the meeting off with a poem by Nina Willis Walter “The witches fly across the sky, the owls go, Who? Who? Who?  The Black cats yowl and the green ghosts howl, scary Halloween to you.” Superwoman and Club President Detra Flood CC, CL announced that our Toastmaster of the Week was Lily Phuong-Tang! Detra commended Lily for returning to the club after leaving for a long time and committing herself to achieving her CC award. A true treat tonight was our Toastmaster Daniel Gutierrez who gave us handfuls of verbal candy throughout the evening about his Halloween memories of years past. Keeping things a little batty was our Table Topics Master Renee Ellis CC, CL with some tricks and treats questions of her own. Her first question for Jordan Hutto “If you could be someone else for a day who would it be?  Jordan chose Danny Glover, actor, director and political activist.  Jordan praised his long career, his honors and his versatility. He also said he would like to live in his house in Hawaii for a day.  Michael Adams spoke about his favorite treat: candy corn. “It only comes around once a year. Which is good, because I would eat a ton of it.” He also spoke highly of “sour patch, the blue ones” and Airheads.” Susan Storma ACB, ALB spoke with passion about not wanting to live forever. She spoke about a deteriorating quality of life as you age. “I would rather die tomorrow than live to be 100.” She said. Our guest, Cindy Parker DTM spoke about a scary speech she gave that involved a woman falling off a cliff and then ending the story with “and then you woke up!” Detra Flood CC, CL spoke of a favorite Halloween tradition: an amazing sweet potato pie made every year and a trip to a neighbor’s “haunted house”.  Returning guest Kate Murray spoke about how she would spend a $1000.00. Travel seemed to be on her mind. “I’d buy a plane ticket or a train ticket to somewhere.” She said. Latisha Simpson spoke about Christmas being her favorite holiday. She said that she “loves everything about it, the lights, the music, the traditions, time with family, church and the food!” Noting that Halloween costumes are often hilarious, Emma Hutto was asked about the last thing that made her laugh out loud. For some reason going to get donuts made her laugh out loud. Said Emma, “It is both funny and sad at the same time.”  We had three speakers, starting with a very spooky speech by Ken Walley DTM titled “Just my Imagination?” Ken spoke about the strange and unexplainable things that had happened in his life including a weird recurring dream, his mother’s “spirit” that seemed to be in her condominium, signs from God that his mother and brother were “alright” after death, a voice from beyond the grave of his best friend and knowing that almost everyone has had a similar experience. “The wall between life and death might be very thin.” Ken observed, “sometimes things slip through.”  The second speaker Linda Klein gave a very different speech ( titled “Samaritans”) about a charity organization that she does volunteer work for, a faith based organization called the Samaritan Resource Center. She had high praise for the compassionate help that this group does for the homeless population of Central Florida. She also paid tribute to the exceptional range of programs that they make available from a hot food dinner offered daily, clothing, shelter and employment opportunities, to caseworkers that can get a family back on their feet again by enrolling them in community outreach assistance. Thank you, Linda, for giving some recognition to such an important organization. The last speaker Zaq Perez CC gave his Competent Communicator graduation speech titled “An Empty Cup” this powerful speech challenged us to face our fears and not give into the temptations to “play it safe” in an often-hostile world, that in Zaq’s words “kicked my butt.” Realizing that at age 30 his life was “an empty cup” he dared himself to accomplish his dreams and goals. In the process of overcoming the tests of life, he found a power within, unrecognized abilities and personal courage. Among the things he chose to do to give meaning to his world was join Toastmasters. We are so proud of you Zaq! Congratulations on your CC! Giving evaluations of these three excellent speeches would be rather frightening but General Evaluator Detra Flood CC, CL had a team of speech exorcists ready to expel any orator demons, thanks to Scott Maloney ACB, ALB (for Ken W.) and Lily Phuong-Tang (for Zaq). Detra gave the evaluation for Linda herself. Waiting in the grammatical pumpkin patch, watching and making reports were the Um/AH Paranormal Investigators and Verbal Goblin Hunters (U/API&VGH) which included Grammarian Susan Storma ACB, ALB; Timer David Hundebly, Ectoplasmic Collector Emma Hutto, AH Counter Latisha Simpson and Vote Counter Renee Ellis CC, CL. There were no tricks, only treats from our guests Albania Villalery, Kasey Visage, Cindy Parker DTM, Laura Acres DTM and Kate Murray all who had wonderful acclaim for the meeting. We also had Super-woman, a Great White Shark, a witch and two Batmen at the meeting. The scariest thing about this meeting was how incredibly good it was.

[Editor note: I was unable to attend the “Moments of Truth” October 19, 2017 meeting but I would like to thank Club #28 Secretary Daniel Gutierrez for lending me his notes. – KHW]

Meeting: Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 19, 2017 “Moments of Truth” meeting. Theme: A planning session for club. Club President Detra Flood CC, CL and Vice President of Education Renee Ellis CC, CL led this very important meeting. The club was very highly rated in every major category of achievement. Ratings by club members: First Impressions: Guests warmly greeted (5 out of 5). Guest Book provided: (3). Professional meeting room: (5) Convenient meeting location: (5). Guests invited to address club: (5). Guests invited to join: (5). Membership: Formal induction: (4). Assignment of mentor: (4) Education Program & recognition: (4). Learning needs assessed (4). Speaking toles assigned: (5) Involvement: (5). Fellowship, Variety and Communication: Greats welcome: (5). Enjoyable educational meetings planned: (5) [Upcoming Halloween meeting noted.]. Social events planned: (2). Members participate in area, district and international events: (3). Interclub events encouraged (3). Website published & updated regularly. (5) Program planning: Agenda/ program. (5). Members know program responsibilities & assignments: (4). Manual projects: (5). Meeting begin/end on time: (5). Creative Table Topics and activities: (5). Positive and helpful evaluators: (5). Membership strength: 20 or more members: (5). Members are retained: (5) Promotion of club in the community or its organization: (5). Club programs varied and exciting (5). Toastmasters sponsoring new members recognized: (4) Regular membership building programs: (5) [Open House meeting was noted]. Achievement Recognition: Awards submitted to TI: (5). Progress chart display: (4). Achievements formally recognized with ceremony: (5). Club, district and international leaders recognized. (5). Member achievements publicized: (5). DCP is used for planning and recognition: (5). Daphne Hart ACS, ALB gave a “Moments of Truth” presentation in which she outlined the “Five ‘E’s”; areas that are critical to any Toastmasters club’s success. We should envision, embodied, empower, evaluate and encourage.” Daphne gave the club an “A+” in these areas. Also discussed were “dates to remember” including the Division C Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests on October 29. A date was set for Nov. 2nd to elect new officers even though the Officer Selection Committee has not been appointed to come up with an official slate of officers for the next term. A December 7th date was set for an “Audit committee” meeting. Also serving a timer for this meeting was David Hundeby. By the end of this meeting Club #28 had put together a strong plan for going ahead in the future and assuring success.

The October 12, 2017 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Music” theme meeting was beautiful music to the ears of all who attended. Club Vice President of Education Renee Ellis CC, CL started the meeting with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Club #28 President Detra Flood CC, CL before introducing our Toastmaster of the evening announced the “Toastmaster of the Week” Latisha Simpson. Detra gave praise to the excellent job that she is doing as our Sgt. of Arms. Joey Jacobshaven took on the role of meeting Toastmaster for his first time. Joey, a UCF Music major; gave us many interesting facts about song, melody, composition and harmony. He told us that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy learning the violin and composing by the age of five. Joey also spoke about how music creates different moods often simply by changing keys from the major to the minor scales. Joey spoke about how music often gives him strength and energy, recreates memories and becomes a “marker of time” in our lives. Many types of music were covered in the Table Topics session presented by Alphaeus Flood, also bravely taking on this role for the first time. He had some brilliant questions! “If your life was a song, what would it be?” was asked of Susan Storma ACB, ALB. Off the top of her head she picked “I Will Survive” by Donna Summer but admitted that she likes “all kinds of music” and that she often enhances her life playing music while she does the mundane (housework), the exciting (exercising) or the important things like having dinner with family or company. “What music brings you happiness?” was asked of Scott Maloney ACB, ALB. Scott spoke about the song “Memories” made famous by Barbara Streisand although as a tribute Scott told a story about a bear in the woods eating a Toastmaster by the name of Durwood Romway. Next, Linda Klein was given the opportunity to speak about the “music of her youth”. Linda spoke about growing up in Chicago in the 60’s and 70’s and had a deep love for music that she passed along to her children. Her son, she noted named his company after a song. Renee Ellis CC, CL having to choose “a song that can unite us” picked Hal David and Bert Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love”. Renee wants music to bring a “peace and calm” to her life and cited the “feeling of worship in church” that music brings. Not surprisingly she does not like Rap music. On the other hand, when asked what kind of music our guest Matthew Goriah like most; he replied “Rap” and also the “Punk bands of the 90’s”. He mentioned Sum 41, Yellowcard and Blink 182. Matthew also mentioned the thrill of “crowd surfing”.  [Editor note: He left out my favorites Green Day and Good Charlotte.]  We had three speakers including two Toastmasters on their way to their CCs and one advanced speech. Lily Phuong-Tang became halfway to her Competent Communicator Award with her speech “Learn to Eat Healthy in Different Ways.”  She showed us the ingredients to her Grandmother’s favorite soup. Lily said “I love it hot so grandmother could not start it until after I go home.” A few of the good things in the soup included Garlic, Red Bell Pepper, Broccoli, carrots and plum. Lily explained why each ingredient was healthy for us as she went along. “Garlic supports strong bones, carrots, sharp eyesight, Broccoli is good for healing cuts… etc.” In the end… she made us hungry!  Speaking second was Daphne Hart ACS, ALB with a “folklore project” from the Advanced Storytelling Manuel. “How the Tiger Got Its Stripes.” Noting that the water buffalo had been tamed by “little animal” (man) to plow the fields, the tiger wondered how the water buffalo had been able to do such work. “Man gave me wisdom” said the water buffalo. The tiger “with a pure flawless golden coat and big paws and claws” asked man to “give him wisdom” as well. Man then tricked tiger into being tied up (to protect his goats) while he went to “get wisdom”. The other animals came to see the tied-up tiger and laughed at him! Angered, he broke loose from his ropes but they had badly burned into his beautiful coat… and that is how the tiger got his stripes! The last speaker was Zaq Perez, only two speeches from his CC with a speech titled “That Thing!”  Zaq told us about the benefits of dancing! He listed the many way that dancing can help you live a better, happier and healthier lifesyle. He listed psychological reasons: “Dancing is fun! Clears the mind! Reduces stress!” Zaq mentioned the physiological reasons: “Good for the brain! Builds neuro-pathways!  Reduces cholesterol! Jiggles and gets rid of gut!” He spoke of social reasons: “Makes you want to ask someone to dance! Builds self-confidence!”  Said Zaq “there are all kinds of dances out there, find a studio and learn to dance! Get out there!” The big evaluator band was led by Master Evaluator Diana Walley ATMG, CL and had Latisha Simpson (for Lily), first time evaluator Daniel Gutierrez (for Daphne) and Chi Simon DTM (for Zaq). Electric Literate Orchestra (ELO) had Grammarian Bob Steg ACB, CL; Timer Ken Walley DTM; Video Music Star Renee Ellis CC, CL; AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Linda Klein in the group playing some sweet reports. Singing praises for our meeting were our guests Matthew Gorian, Jordan Hutto and his wife Emma Hutto. Jordan and Emma both announced that they would be joining our club! Welcome! Like a beautiful song this meeting brought joy to all who heard it.

What a better way to celebrate the start of Autumn than to be at The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 5. 20174 “Fall Leaves” theme meeting? Club #28 President Detra Flood CC, CL started the meeting with a series of quotes by one of her favorite speakers, John Maxwell. These included “People do not care how much you know until the know how much you care” and “If we are growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” While behind the lectern Detra announced the “Toastmaster of the week”; this week the honor went to Alphaeus Flood who Detra recognized his work in keeping our Facebook page up to date and making our page a wonderful place to go for a cyber-visit. Renee Ellis CC, CL introduced us to her favorite factoids about the Fall season. “There are only two days in which you can stand an egg on its end; the start of Fall and the start of Spring” was just one of Renee’s little bits of trivia candy; another was “One gallon of apple cider takes 40 apples to make.”  She also told us the scientific reason why leaves turn colors and that heart attacks happen less in the Fall time change than the “Spring forward” time change. Renee gave us many more facts as we went through the evening. Another Toastmaster keeping us on our toes was our newest member and Table Topics Master Bob Steg ACB, CL. His first question “What do you like most about Autumn?’ was directed at Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. Daphne said that she liked “Fall foods” especially chili and thick soups. Our guest Alexia Britton spoke about her favorite fall memory. She remembered her little cousin getting dressed in pumpkin suit and experiencing her 1st Halloween. Ken Blake DTM told us about the “most incredible Club #28 meeting ever”. Ken B. remembered the night (November 23, 2002) we had a Club #28 meeting on Ralph Cowell CC’s boat that took us through the untouched backwaters of Travers Florida, ending up at a Thanksgiving festival in Mt. Dora. Also from the middle of Lake Dora we witnessed a night time launch of a space shuttle. Throughout this voyage, we did Table Topics, Speeches and Evaluations! Detra Flood CC, CL spoke about how she used to collect candy on Halloween … for her mother! She did this without wearing a costume. Ken Walley DTM remember when hurricane Charlie past through doing extensive damage to his neighborhood and how the neighbors came together to help each other. David Hundeby said that he wanted to accomplish this Fall running a marathon in a record time for him. Linda Klein was given a choice between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas as a favorite holiday. She chose Christmas because her sister’s and her birthday were all within a few days of Christmas. She remembered “a family celebration”. She also loves how “strangers seem to come together” during this time of year. We had two featured speakers this evening starting with Marie Leoffler DTM with a speech that everyone needed to hear titled “Dealing with Change”.  In this speech she reminded us that how change often has an unexpected end-result. She gave an example of how she ended up in Florida, a place she never wanted to move to because of a chain of events that started with the death of her father. Among the changes in her life that she looked back upon was changing careers, re-defining herself and challenging herself to explore new possibilities. Still she is left with a love/hate relationship about change. She remembered how going to grandmas for lunch did not include indoor plumbing or air conditioning but it did include her grandmother. “Remember to breathe” was her best advice to dealing with change “There is only a one letter difference between the word ‘change’ and ‘chance’. Often taking the chance is worth it.”  The second speaker Daniel Gutierrez at the last moment volunteered to fill in for a speaker. He chose to do a reprise of a speech he had given a few weeks back titled “Understanding Habits”. He laid out the problem that we have with the forming of habits and trying to break them. “We cannot get rid of a habit but we can adapt a habit.” He spelled out the three phases of habits: the que, the routine and the reward. Defining the cue (going to a bookstore instead of a bakery) and changing the reward (enjoying a coffee instead of a cupcake) will change the routine (reading a book instead of going into get a treat). This commonsense way of dealing with habits also helped Daniel lead a much more stress free and healthy lifestyle. These two speeches were reviewed by our evaluation team headed by General Evaluator Zaq Perez. Both Latisha Simpson (for Marie) and Daphne Hart ACS, ALB (for Daniel) made Zaq proud with excellent advice and competent evaluations. Also showing their true colors were the New Leaf Turners (NLT) with brilliant reports thanks to Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Diana Walley ATMG, CL; AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Linda Klein. At the end of the meeting Club #28 members Lily Phuong-Tang, Alphaeus Flood and Joey Jacobshagen all answered the question “What do you love most about the fall?” Respectively, they answered: trees changing color, being out of the Marine Corp and the orchestral music of the season. We had many guests that were all incredibly enthusiastic about out meeting: Alexia Britton, Katrina Villalery, Michael Adams, Jordan Hutto, Emma Hutto and Frank Hopkins all made this meeting much more special by being here. Like the leaves turning color and the cool Autumn air, Club #28 meetings like this one make the season the best of all.

If there was as poster for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 September 28, 2017 “Dead or Alive” theme meeting it might read: “FOUND! Best meeting ever!” Starting the evening with a motivational quote was the always wanted Renee Ellis CC, CL who used a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson “Nothing important is ever achieved without effort.” Club President Detra Flood CC, Cl announced that Ken Walley DTM had come in second place at the Area 31 Humorous Speech Contest. She also proclaimed Zaq Perez as our Toastmaster of the week. Said Detra “His dedication to this club has been an inspiration to all of us.” Ken Walley DTM was hunted down to be the Toastmaster for the evening. Ken spoke about how in the Old West posters were often displayed offering a reward for outlaws “Dead or Alive”. Ken mentioned Billy the Kid who he described as a cross between a “folk hero and a serial killer”. Ken noted that “The kid” was brought in dead. Ken also observed that the only modern criminal wanted “Dead or Alive” was Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. “He was brought in dead too.” Said Ken “I hope I never see my name on a ‘Dead or Alive’ poster!” The long awaited “Central Florida Dead or Alive Show!” returned to Club #28 introduced with grand fanfare by Table Topics Master Diana Walley ATMG, CL! Diana explained that the “show” featured a host who would interview a celebrity that could either be dead or alive and would be played by one of our Toastmasters. The first host of the show tonight was none other than Ken Blake DTM who had the assignment of questioning the recently deceased Hugh Hefner. The famous Playboy magazine publisher was play-acted by Ken Walley DTM. Ken B.’s questions ranged from what it was like to be dead (“I still get to wear my silk pajamas!”); his thoughts on Marylyn Monroe, the Playboy mansion and Hef’s impact on social norms. Said Ken (as Hefner): “The world will never be the same after me.”  Next Marie Loeffler DTM interviews Detra Flood CC, CL as St. Mother Teresa. Detra/Teresa answered question of what motivated her to serve the poor and desperate in Calcutta, India. Detra played the part perfectly, complete with a spot-on impersonation of the revered saint. Lady Gaga, played by Renee Ellis CC, CL was questioned by Alphaeus Flood. Renee expertly handled questions about being bullied was a student, her recording hits but most of all about wearing a “meat suit” to the MTV awards. You would have thought that Lady Gaga was really in the room! The last duo involved the late Walt Disney played by David Hundeby being interview by Latisha Simpson. Most interesting was how David interpreted Walt’s feelings about seeing the company that bears his name today. Oddly, Latisha’s questions brought an insight into Walt Disney’s “spirit” through the words of David! The Central Florida Dead or Alive Show was a unanimous success and plans were instantly being made to bring it back soon! We had two very different speeches tonight both from the Basic Communications Manual. Lily Phuong-Tang, giving her 3rd speech titled “Coming to America was a Miracle Moment for Me and My Family”. Lily told the inspiring, exciting and heart-warming story that brought Lily and her family from Viet-Nam to America. In a speech that could be made into a movie, “miracles” seemed to appear at just the right moment to get Lily’s family to the airport during a harrowing 8- hour trip to the Ho Chi Minh City Airport. She looked back at a trip that had a mysterious priest come to the rescue of her family stranded at the side of the road (“need a ride?”) and a relative appear out of nowhere to vouch for the family! They made it just seconds before their delayed plane was to leave! There was so much more but it seems that it is destiny that Lily was to come to America and us at Club #28! The second speech by Zaq Perez was a presentation designed for an audience of accountants titled “Technical Process/ Document Process”. Zaq covered the 5 phases and 8 step processes through TDP administration for document approval, including community review! From the author’s first draft through the oversight checklist and inhouse revisions to the final document product; Zaq took us along a step-by-step overview of the process. By the end of the speech we all felt like we were accountants! Our evaluation posse under the leadership of Sheriff Latisha Simpson hunted down some wonderful advice for our speakers with evaluations from Marie Loeffler DTM (for Lily) and Detra Flood CC, CL (for Zaq). The Word Deputies (TWP) also proved to be alive with excellent report thanks to Grammarian Alphaeus Flood, Timer Renee Ellis, Photo-Resurrection Director Daniel Gutierrez, AH Counter David Hundeby and Vote Counter Ken Blake DTM. We had many guests including Sherri Wilderwutrh, Maureen Premo, Michael Adams, Victor Merlino and Bob Steg ACB, CL. They gave extremely positive comments about our meeting. The most positive of all was the announcement that Bob and Maureen had joined our club! Welcome Bob and Maureen! This was the meeting we wanted. There were no zombies here, this meeting was alive and kicking!

“So, you want to be a Toastmaster?” was the perfect theme for the September 21, 2017 The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “open house” meeting.  The club was blessed with many visitors and Club #28 showcased just what an excellent Toastmasters club should look like. David Hundeby gave us a thought for the day from Alexander Hamilton to open the meeting: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Club President Detra Flood CC, CL provided a warm welcome to our guests and then announced our “Toastmaster of the week”, Marie Leoffler DTM! Presiding over our meeting as Toastmaster was Zaq Perez. Zaq told how Toastmasters has made an important difference in his life as well as singing the praises of the program. “Toastmasters has helped millions of people gain leadership and communication skills since the 1920’s.” Zaq continued “This program is always trying to improve itself to meet the goals of its members.” Who other than Ken Walley DTM would be our Table Topics Master for this special meeting?  Ken’s questions focused on how Toastmasters has changed lives and supported the community. “Why did you join Toastmasters?” was asked of Linda Klein. Linda said that she was looking for a group that provided friendship, encouragement and “a place to have some fun and learn things.” The next question, “What advice would you give to new Toastmasters?” was answered by Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. Daphne encouraged our guests to join and our new members to stay consistent with their projects and to work with their mentors. Returning visitor Bob Steg ACB, CL spoke on how Toastmasters had given him a place to sharpen his craft as a university instructor. Bob related that “Toastmasters gave me a place to pursue my creative outlets in a positive atmosphere.”  Daniel Gutierrez spoke about how communication skills are important in today’s modern high-tech workplace. Another member who has been very missed was Tea Tran, returning to us after a long absence. Tea was asked why Club #28 was “the best club in the universe.” She did not disagree saying that two of #28’s best attributes are being “accepting” and “welcoming”. Detra Flood CC, CL spoke about leadership lessons that she had learned from being our President. One of our guests, Maureen Premo was asked what she would like to gain from joining Toastmasters. She told us the story of an important presentation she had to make to a “room full of suits” and how she wanted to find confidence in a safe environment when situations like that came up. The last question was for another guest, and a former Toastmasters club president in Miami, Frank Hopkins. Frank was asked what he would like to see Toastmasters do in the community? Frank spoke of having a prison outreach program that could give those incarcerated a better chance at success when they get out. If Club #28 is going to put its best foot forward then our two speakers on this night were perfect for our theme! Susan Storma ACB, ALB started with a fabulous example of a humorous speech titled “I Should Have Gone to the Store Myself”. Working from the advanced “Humorously Speaking” manual, she had everyone in stitches about a story of how a simple grocery errand entrusted to her husband went hilariously wrong! Given the list for the ingredients to make a rum cake for their upcoming party, her husband did not realize it was a numbered list and instead bought increasingly large amounts of items including 4 pounds of walnuts… 5 bags of flour…6 bottles of cooking oil… etc. It was a lot of work just to unload this stuff from the car! By then end of the speech everyone was laughing. It had a good ending… and plenty of rum cake for the party. The second speech was an educational speech by Marie Leoffler DTM about the upcoming “Toastmasters Pathways Program.” Marie explained how Toastmasters International was creating new “paths” of learning and adjusting the Toastmasters program to encompasses more opportunities of growth while modernizing our program towards a modern media-friendly world. She explained that while the club meetings and speeches would still look the same; new “core competencies, learning paths and proficiency levels” would replace our current basic and advanced manual projects. She painted an exciting future for Toastmasters International and the wonderfully increased outlooks of learning for all members. “The Pathways learning experience is exciting!” said Marie “I cannot wait for it to get here!”  Our General Evaluator was Latisha Simpson who told why evaluations are so important to the Toastmaster journey although we only had one evaluator tonight since Marie’s speech was a TI informational presentation. Renee Ellis CC, CL gave excellent advice layered with impressive praise for Susan’s speech. Also involved in making this the quintessential example of a Toastmasters meeting experience were our “Housewarming Team” (HWT) of Grammarian Joey Jacobshagen, Timer Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Visual Speech Recorder Renee Ellis CC, CL; AH Counter Daniel Gutierrez and Vote Counter Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. A successful open house needs guests and we had a lot of them! Mary Harper, Jordan Hutto, Albania Villalona, Frank Hopkins, Maureen Premo and Bob Steg ACB, CL all had enthusiastic comments about our meeting and many said they were very interested in joining! Of course, EVERY meeting is an “open house” at Club #28 and all are welcome to join us. If you do, it will be one of the best things you ever do for yourself.

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The open house was a packed house!

In the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Irma, The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 cancelled its last meeting but like the State of Florida; recovered strong with the September 14, 2017 “Hurricane Fun Facts” theme meeting. Alphaeus Flood started the meeting with a very timely quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Club President Detra Flood CC, CL expressed relief that although a number of members had to deal with the harsh realities of living without power, all reports so far showed that all of our members are safe. She also announced that the “Toastmaster of the Week” was Ken Walley DTM! Our Toastmaster for the evening Renee Ellis CC, CL had an incredible amount of truly amazing Hurricane trivia ready to astound us about the power of these storms. We learned that Hurricane Hugo had the highest storm surge ever recorded in the US, a frightening 20 feet wall of water that hit South Carolina in 1989. Other facts were the longest hurricane was Hurricane Ginger that went on for over three weeks. Hurricane parties were all of the rage in the 60’s until Camille killed 8 people… an event that later was made into a movie. It is said that Hurricane Beulah spawned up to 140 tornadoes. “That’s a windy day!” exclaimed Renee. A Typhoon names “Cobra” sank a destroyer! The first female storm named by the Hurricane center was “Allison” and the first guy’s name was “Bob”. Then there were tales of Spanish shipwrecks laden with gold… and so much more. Also at the ready with some hurricane lore was our Table Topics Master Susan Storma ACB, ALB who started with a question for David Hundeby “What were the natural disasters you had to be ready for when you were growing up? David was from Oregon where “people sometimes died because of the cold.” He mentioned Ice storms and remembered the eruption of Mt. St. Helen. “The ash looked like it was snowing. But the ash itself was toxic.” Said David. The next question for Scott Maloney ACB, ALB was about using humor to cope with dangerous situations. Scott said that he left up north to come live in Florida where it was warm. “I was astounded that I could ride a motorcycle in February!” He admitted that he never considered hurricanes might be approaching . Our guest, Wayne Philbrook compared Hurricane Irma to other past hurricanes. He said that while in the Caribbean he was hit by Hurricane Carol and went 2 months without water and 3 months without electricity. He also mentioned Hurricane Charlie as being “pretty bad” but much smaller than Irma and “doing the same amount of damage.” Joey Jacobshaven said that he would rather lose power rather than water, because you “need water to survive.” Another guest Andy Olano spoke about how unimportant material things seem to be during a disaster and how you have a new appreciation for how precious your family and loved ones are. Diana Walley ATMG, CL told a story while during Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 that the entire family “guided” a heavy steel radio antenna that was being ripped from her house to miss her neighbor’s BMW car! She also spoke about how hard it is for a Realtor to get home insurance during hurricane season. Our two speakers who were scheduled for this evening cancelled at the last moment but Club #28 being Club #28, was able to come up with THREE speakers to replace them! Giving a “hip-pocket speech” which combined the “Touching story” project from the  Advanced Storytelling Manual, with an informative speech; Ken Walley DTM presented “Table Topics: A Touching Story”.  Ken told of  his first experience with Table Topics, a complete misadventure that had him standing on a table pretending to be a tree and answering the question of “what flavor bark do I have?” Ken went on to inform us of how to be a Table Topics Master and how to prepare to answer table topics questions. In the end he was ready to jump back up on that table!  Speaking second was Susan Storma ACB, ALB giving an encore performance of a speech titled “Snakes!”  This very funny speech brought to life her fear of snakes (“I’m afraid of an earthworm, much less a snake!”) and her husband’s attempts to get her over her fears. Her brave attempts at overcoming her fear seemed to backfire on her husband like when she bravely presented a small snake she found to her husband… only to find out she was holding a pigmy rattlesnake! Another speech that had everyone laughing was Renee Ellis CC, CL’s classic “Confessions of a Single Girl” a repeat from our Humorous Speech contests that told of how everyone wants Renee to find that “someone special” when Renee herself just loves being single! This speech had everyone laughing!  Ken Walley DTM returned to the lectern to serve as the General Evaluator and was supported with some excellent reviews of the speeches. Latisha Simpson (for Ken), Detra Flood CC, CL (for Susan) and Zaq Perez (for Renee) did the evaluation honors. In his meeting evaluation, Ken was “extremely proud” of the club rising to this occasion and delivering such an excellent program. The Windy Wordsmiths (WW) of Grammarian Alphaeus Flood, Timer Daniel Gutierrez, Verbal Storm Tracker Zaq Perez, AH Counter Marie Leoffler DTM and Vote Counter David Hundeby all did brilliant work. We had a large number of guests including Monica Martinez, Andy Olano, Patrica Flolo, Rich O’ben, Mary Harper, Maureen Premo and Wayne Philbrook; all of whom gave tremendous praise for the meeting. Hurricane Irma might have brought some wind and rain but Club #28 made a lot of sunshine with this meeting tonight!

[Editor Note: The September 7, 2017 was cancelled due to the approaching Hurricane Irma. The Open House was rescheduled for September 21, 2017]

 

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Contest speakers: Renee Ellis, Ken Walley DTM, Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Chi Simons DTM and Zaq Perez

From the first-time visitor, to the most veteran DTM; the performances from the August 31, 2017 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests were lavishly lauded with the highest of praise. These contests genuinely deserved such expressions of worship from a appreciative and grateful audience. “Now that is was an impressive evening of sheer fun and entertainment!” said one visitor. Another Toastmaster raved “I laughed, I learned… most of all, I’m really glad I came!” This magical evening started with the call to order by Sgt. At Arms Latisha Simpson who introduced David Hundeby to give the invocation before the start of our scheduled events. David fittingly offered a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln but was really first published over 100 years later by Nobel Prize Winning Scientist Dennis Gabor: “You cannot predict the future. You create the future.” The brilliant future of this evening could not have been predicted. However, the incredible effort of the Contest Master Marie Leoffler DTM definitely helped create it. Masterfully weaving a tapestry of entertainment, organization and humor; Marie put on a clinic of how to produce a remarkable set of contests. Her performance as a Contest Master was well worth the visit to the Herndon Branch Library on her own merits alone. Going immediately into the first contest, the Evaluation Contest; Marie introduced our Chief Judge Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. Assuring us that these contests were beyond approach and to the letter of Toastmasters International standards, Daphne proclaimed “Let the Contests Begin!”. A “test” speech was first given by Brenda Smith ACB, CL. Brenda’s speech titled “Something for everyone!” was a speech that traced the “Toastmaster’s journey” of Brenda from her first nervous Table Topics question (“I spoke for a whole 10 seconds.”) to her success not only in mastering communication proficiency, but in learning leadership ability as well. After being given 5 minutes to prepare their evaluations, the three evaluators were brought in one by one to explain their thoughts on Brenda’s speech. First Diana Walley ATMG, CL brought out parallels with her own personal toastmaster experience that she had discovered in Benda’s speech. She noted that like Brenda, she was also married to a “Mr. Toastmaster” and how she had also not only come to learn but now comes to “have fun.” The second Evaluator Zaq Perez spoke about the strengths of Brenda’s speech and what she might do to “tweak it” and take it to another level. He offered excellent advice. The last contest evaluator was Ken Walley DTM. Ken praised Brenda’s speech for being the perfect speech for the many guests present and for the newer Toastmasters in the room. “This was a goodwill speech for Toastmasters” Ken said, “Do I want to join Toastmasters after hearing your speech? Sign me up!”  There was a short intermission while the judges had the unenviable task of picking a winner. Soon though the voice of Sergeant at Arms Latisha Simpson boomed through the meeting room, calling everyone back to order for the main event, the Humorous Speech Contest. Speaking first in this event was Zaq Perez with a humorous speech titled “My Journey to Becoming a CPA” about an unlikely subject for a comedic speech: accountants. Zaq still found many hilarious stories about this less-than-glamorous career choice. He showed us how underneath the cloak of financial number- crunching blandness was a dynamic, exciting… and very funny, side of CPAs. Renee Ellis was next with an uproarious speech titled “Confessions of a Single Woman”. Renee told how family and friends conspired to solve her “single problem” mostly against her will, with very funny results. Renee, has found herself trying to convince seemingly everyone like those who force her to try to catch the bouquet at weddings, arrange blind dates and sign her up on internet computer dating sites; that she really is comfortable and happy being single! This speech was a scream! Ken Walley DTM’s speech was titled “So This Is Hell” told of planting the seeds of a Trinidad Scorpion pepper when the pepper itself took revenge on him for all of the peppers that he had ever eaten in his life. “My head went up in flames!” said Ken as he explained his heroic efforts to stop the insane pain that engulfed him. Ken’s description of his intense agony was hilariously funny! The last speaker was Chi Simons DTM with another hysterical speech titled “Husband Material”. To date Chi, a potential mate had to run the gauntlet of 10 judgements (interviews? Interrogations?) by Chi’s parents, brothers and sisters! They had very strict rules but Chi was more interested in if he could cook! Finally, Chi found her true love on a date to a Kobe’s Japanese Steak House! Even so, Chi made him wait 5 years just so she was sure he was the right guy! By the end of the humorous speech contest, many in the audience were laughing so hard that they were having trouble breathing. A few fell off their chairs and extra paper towels had to be brought in to dry the eyes of many a visitor. Amid complaints that the howling laughter was disrupting the library, somehow the pandemonium was brought back down to a functioning level and Contest Master Marie Leoffler DTM paid tribute to those who made this ultra-successful event possible: Timers Ken Blake DTM and Scott Maloney ACB, ALB; Vote Counters Amy Sims CC and Detra Flood CC, CL, Contest Sgt. At Arms Daniel Gutierrez and Latisha Simpson, Chief Judge Daphne Hart ACS, ALB and of course the judges who are always anonymous. The time to announce the winners was here. Starting with the Evaluation Contest, it was revealed that Ken Walley DTM was the second-place winner and that Zaq Perez had won the 1st place trophy. Zaq had won his first ever Toastmasters contest. The Humorous speech contest pronounced Chi Simons DTM as the 2nd place winner and Ken Walley DTM getting the grand prize trophy!

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The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 August 24, 2017 “Presidents” theme meeting was where, to paraphrase Harry S Truman, “the buck stopped” for an awesome meeting! Starting the meeting off was Sgt. At Arms Latisha Simpson with a quote from a former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Our own Club #28 President Detra Flood CC honored Toastmaster David Hundeby as our “Toastmaster of the week” recounting how David, as a brand-new Toastmaster, volunteered to serve as our Vice President of Membership! Our Toastmaster for the evening and Commander-in-Chief Diana Walley ATMG, CL, had many wonderful “Factoids” about the Presidents of the United States. Here are just a few of them: 1. Thomas Jefferson introduced ice cream, waffles and macaroni to the country besides being an accomplished violinist, understanding 8 languages and using his library as the basis for the Library of Congress. 2. When Andrew Jackson left office he had only $90. in his pocket, and the country was not a whole lot better off. Zachary Taylor died in office from eating cherries and drinking cold milk on a hot day.  3. Abraham Lincoln had smallpox when he gave the Gettysburg Address. 4. Grover Cleveland personally hanged two men as Sheriff of Buffalo, New York. 5. The “Teddy Bear” toy, a favorite for generations of children was named after Theodore Roosevelt for refusing to shoot a bear cub on a hunting trip.  These and many other interesting presidential facts we learned throughout the evening. Also challenging us with some “presidential” questions was first time Table Topics Master Daniel Gutierrez. His first question, aimed at Zaq Perez “If you were President of the United States what laws would you like to see passed?” Zaq said that he supports the elimination of the IRS and would like to see harsher penalties for those who text and drive. Chi Simons DTM was asked what she would do to get away from the Secret Service. She said that she would have to turn into “Super woman” to evade them and then she would just “play tricks” on unsuspecting people. “It would be fun to break the rules.” Ken Blake DTM when asked to what program he would requisition more than 100 million dollars for, said that as a mechanic he would like to see better quality standards in the auto industry. “We could do a lot better making cars more reliable, safer and affordable.” The last question for our guest Sonia Martinez was “if you could invite a President to dinner, who would it be?” Sonia did not name a specific president but she said that she would take him to a food truck and “try a little bit of everything.”  We only had two speakers on this evening but they both gave speeches as good as some of the State of the Union speeches given by some presidents. Starting with a very special speech, His Ice Breaker speech was David Hundeby. Appropriately titled “Get Ready!” which painted a picture of a richly lived life by a highly driven and focused man. Born in Portland Oregon under the shadow of Mt. Hood, David would someday climb that Mountain while still a teenager with his father. We learned of other accomplishments of his youth including earning the rank of Eagle Scout. David found a love for music and challenged himself to learn to play trumpet. Soon afterwards he could be found playing professionally in a jazz band. He met his wife, Terri, while attending Oregon State University. They have been married for 37 years now, with two kids. After earning a Black Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do, he was inspired to try martial arts by Bruce Lee! After tearing his ACL in a tournament, he turned his rehabilitation physical therapy into a new hobby of running marathons! So far, he’s run 7 of them. What’s next? We will have to wait and see. The second speech by Linda Klein was titled “The Great Chicago Fire.” Linda described how the fire was rumored to have started (no one knows for sure) by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow but Linda portrayed just how fast it spread. Using props and vivid imagery she placed us among the dangerous wooden buildings that went up like matchsticks creating giant fire tornados. Through her words we surveyed the damage; hundreds of dead, over a 100,000 homeless. We also heard how Chicago rose from the ashes (literally) to become the vibrant city it is today. Mrs. O’Leary by the way was cleared of fault and ironically a fire station now stands where her house once was. Master Evaluator Renee Ellis CC, CL had a cabinet of evaluator which gave excellent advice, Daphne Hart (for David) and first time evaluator Joey Jacobshaven (for Linda). Our Presidential Task Advisory Commission (PTAC) also administered outstanding testimony thanks to Grammarian Chi Simons DTM, AH Counter Latisha Simpson, Timer Ken Blake DTM, Vice President of Video Affairs Zaq Perez and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM. Besides a standing ovation for David’s Ice Breaker; Joey Jacobshaven was recognized for his first time as an evaluator and Diana Walley ATMG, CL as her first time in over a decade as a Club #28 Toastmaster. Renee Ellis CC, CL was recognized for earning her CL award as well. Marie Leoffler DTM explained about our upcoming Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest next week. Ours Guests, Eric Spencer, Wayne Philbrooke, Sherri Wilderwuth and Sonia Martinez all raved about the meeting and Sonia pledged to join our club! Welcome Sonia! If this meeting were a president, it would be on Mt. Rushmore.

Awful good!” is the only way to describe the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 August 17, 2017 “Oxymoron” theme meeting held at the Southeast Branch Library due to the unavailability of our regular meeting place. The meeting started as Zaq Perez quoted John MaxwellTime management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we live our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.” President Detra Flood CC introduced a new Club #28 feature “The Club #28 Toastmaster of the Week” this first one awarded to Joey Jacobshaven! The Toastmaster on this peacefully stormy evening was Ken Walley DTM who worked with deliberate speed to fit as many oxymora into this event as relatively possible. Good grief, although being deceptively honest, he found missing terms that had been clearly misunderstood with bitter sweet results. For example, he lamented “who wears plastic glasses …or do you drink out of them? Is it properly ridiculous to think that there is such a thing as a paper tablecloth?” A dull roar of applause erupted when Diana Walley ATMG, CL was introduced as the Table Topic Master. She brought some openly deceptive questions that were given in random order that produced some serious and some seriously funny responses. Her first, to Latisha Simpson was based on the oxymoron pretty ugly: “What is something that you think is pretty and what is something (not someone) you think is ugly?” Latisha said that one side of life was pretty: “the opportunity to make the best of things and the possibilities to make things better.” The “ugly” she pointed out was “some personalities that focus on the bitter, disappointing and negative.” Scott Maloney ACB, ALB when given the words “freezer burn”  and asked what he would store in a freezer, Scott retroactively elected to speak on Latisha’s question saying that some humans can be monsters on the inside while others “like those who choose to protect our children” are beautiful. Ken Blake DTM who was given “military Intelligence” said that we should honor those who serve in the military and that there should be a “voluntary draft” for those who would like to serve but need some encouragement. Whatever that might be. Lily Phuong-Tang spoke in the historical present about “limited nuclear war” with the looming conflict  of a North Korean threat. Lily said that the atomic bomb attack on Japan in 1945 to this day has a major effect upon the population. She said that when you pass a “survivor test” maybe you worry less but the threat is still there and we should all be concerned. Zaq Perez spoke about a “Full Price Discount” saying that he found a real bargain at a place called “$5 Below” where everything is less than five bucks. He said he often finds excellent deals at thrift stores and dollar stores. Our guest Jessica Marina spoke about a “non-working mother” by saying that there is no such thing. She remembered how much work it was for her mother just to raise her and now that she has two kids of her own, she realized what is involved in being a mom. Jessica said “My mom, who did not work a job; worked harder than anyone I know.” Linda Klein took on the term “Protective Custody”. She said that while it is possible to be “overly safe” by becoming “afraid of everything.” You still have to be very careful in a dangerous world. Susan Storma ACB, ALB given the question based on the oxymoron “Light Heavyweight” of “Should boxing be banned now that we know what we know of concussions.” Susan said that those who choose this profession “should know the risks involved” and to “let them box for a living.” Noted for his conspicuous absence was David Hundeby who was asked to speak about our meeting. David was glad that he fought through the pouring rain to make it to the meeting and that it was worth the challenge. We had three speeches tonight starting with a speech by Joey Jacobshaven titled “Being Yourself” from the “your body speaks” project of the Basic Manuel.  This speech featured Joey commenting on being on social media, the fashion world, the dating scene, at work, in public and just being by yourself. “Be yourself!” was the message, “do not try to be someone you are not.” Joey stressed that you should also see others as they are as well. Avoid stereotyping, accept their challenges and be open minded and others might do the same for you. He ended by singing a famous song “You are a shining star/no matter who you are.”  The second speaker, Daniel Gutierrez also doing speech #5 from the Basic Manuel took us on an emotion roller coaster with a speech titled “A Moment in my life I will Never Forget”. Daniel remembered a day, November 2, 1992 as a child in South America going to school on the bus when the bus was stopped by the military. They told the driver to turn around and soon found the bus driving through gunfire! The children were told to lie on the floor of the bus and get under a seat! Somehow the bus driver avoided the war zone retracing his steps and returning the children back to their houses… except Daniel. On the way back to his house the bus was taken over by the military and Daniel and the bus driver were forced to walk 8 miles back to the driver’s apartment. Unable to reach Daniel’s parents, he had to wait out a government coup for the next two days. Finally, he was reunited with his parents once the coup had been put down! What an amazing story! The last speaker was Renee Ellis CC who was giving her 10th speech to earn her CC award! The speech titled “We Need to Talk About It” was an extremely powerful and emotional speech on mental illness. Renee spoke about having to contend with both the myriad of challenges of getting a severe problem under control while surviving in the real world of holding a job, managing medication, paying bills and dealing with everyday struggles. On top of that Renee spoke about overcoming the negative perceptions associated with mental illness by family, friends and the public. Meaningful and helpful, this was a message that needs to be heard by everyone. Congratulations Renee! The friendly takeover of the lectern by the General Evaluator Zaq Perez produced no “tough love” just mostly a whole lot of love from our student teachers Detra Flood CC (for Joey), Daniel Gutierrez (for Daniel) and Ken Blake DTM (for Renee). Our Guest Hosts of Cool Passion (GHOCP) produced a magic realism to their reports thanks to Grammarian Scott Maloney ACB, ALB; Timer: Marie Leoffler DTM Recorded Live Engineer Zaq Perez, AH Counter Susan Storma ACB, ALB and Vote Counter Linda Klein. Our two guests Scott Maloney ACB, ALB and Jessica Marina did not speak with a deafening silence but spoke with high praise of the meeting! As Ken said “ I am not a devout atheist but I believe that you can make deliberate speed from a crash landing. However, you cannot have a civil war!” This meeting was the genuine imitation of our best meeting ever!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 August 10, 2017 “Looking into the Future” theme meeting found a lot of things to look forward to… including wonderful meetings like this one! Joey Jacobshagen took us to the past however for our thought of the day quoting Harriett Beecher Stowe: “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems that you could not hang on a moment longer, never give up then, for that is just the time and place that the tide will turn.” Looking to the future was first-time Toastmaster Daniel Gutierrez. Daniel did such a good job that the entire club looks forward to his returning many times as our Toastmaster! Daniel spoke about the “Physics of the Future” the book by Michio Kaku and his vision of coming developments in medicine, computing, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and energy production. He said that in 30 years’ time food production will have massive increases due to “vertical farms” growing different foods on different levels by using “upward expansion techniques”.  Daniel made clear that we give far too much credit to robots: “The most advanced robots we have right now are not as smart as a cockroach. In 200 or 300 years, we might create a robot with the intelligence of a dog. Then we might want to start thinking about putting limits on them.” Table Topics Master Ken Blake DTM had some excellent questions about the future, and the present for our members and guests. The first one was about looking to the future for Club #28. Zaq Perez said that that the club’s future was “very bright” but he would like to see us be more involved with the community. “We need to ‘go beyond this room’! Our future is taking Toastmasters to the next level!” Susan Storma ACB, ALB when asked about a “favorite thinker” from Ken B.; referred to the complex personality of Thomas Edison. Only having a grand total of 4 days of public schooling, Edison was home schooled and learned Morse code at train stations while hopping trains as a kid. He would take this knowledge and build it into one of the most diverse communication and design companies ever created which included the inventions of the phonograph, motion pictures and electric light bulb. David Hundeby was asked to speak about “those who see the future” like Nostradamus by telling us what he sees in the next 500 years. “A flying car” was his first thought, although he admitted he stole that from last week he also mentioned “holograms where we could greet each other in the same room without either one of us being there” and “being able to fly with our own power.”  Detra Flood CC when asked if she would live in space someday instead told about wanting to be a “gift-giver” referencing the book “The Good Gift Giver” by Tahni Cullen, Josiah Cullen and Cheryl Ricker which tells the story of an autistic child. “God is a good gift-giver” said Detra, “he can take a nobody to be a somebody.” Lily Phuong-Tang was asked about “one thing that has changed the world in the last 100 years.” She said that she would like us all to look toward the future and live the next 100 years “in a peaceful world.” Said Lily “If we could only transfer what we know about ourselves to each other. Maybe we could understand each other and live peacefully.” Latisha Simpson spoke about “What would you tell your robot to do?” Latisha said she would tell it to “Go Away!”  Latisha was afraid that “the whole ‘i-robot’ thing might happen!”  She spoke of robot taking over the world and making humans work for them. “I don’t like anything in human form, not even dolls! If I had to tell a robot to do something, I would tell it to ‘Go Kill other robots!”  Joey Jabobshagen talked about driverless cars. He thought they were an excellent idea. “Like flying in a plane… only on the ground. They give you a chance to spread out, watch a movie and relax.”  The last question was for our guest Scott Mellen who was asked if he would get a “chip embedded in his hand” to make “work easier.” Scott said that he was kind of nervous about that and somewhat worried that ‘big brother might be watching.” He aid that “Cell phones are bad enough, knowing we can be tracked all of the time… thank you for scaring me!” Speaking tonight were the husband and wife team of Diana Walley ATMG, CL and Ken Walley DTM. Diana went first with a Goodwill Speech from the Advanced Public Relations Manual titled “Leaders are Made!”  She emphasized that Toastmasters is not only about finding inspiration but also about the opportunity of learning leadership skills. She told how because of Toastmasters she overcame a fear of speaking that went back to being called upon to speak in class. She said that later success in life, creating a non-profit organization and a career as a realtor could not have been possible without the skills she learned in Toastmasters. She also said that she gained inspiration outside of Toastmasters from speakers like John Maxwell, Dale Carnegie and Zig Zigar. The “outside inspirations work well with Toastmasters too.”  Diana also mentioned that the “real success of Toastmasters is outside of the program, where you see results in your own ‘real life’.”  Ken Walley DTM working on the Advanced Storytelling Manuel titled “The Greatest Club #28 Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contest Ever … So far!” In preparation for the upcoming August 31 Club #28 contests, Ken revisited last year’s Club #28 Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests. Told as an “historical event” from the masterful job as the Contest Master by Kara Newcome ACG, ALB to the brilliant test speech by Scott Maloney ACB, ALB (“Unicorns fart rainbows”) and the even more impressive evaluations by Walk Jones DTM, Ken Blake DTM, Robyn Lesser CC, CL and Monique Smith-Trager CC; Ken brought to life that evening complete with a hurricane-like storm pelting rain down on the library! He then re-created the Humorous Speeches of Robyn Lesser CC, CL (“Trick Horses Drink Two”); Monique Smith-Trager CC (“Fireworks or Psychopathic for ‘I Love You’”) and Daphne Hart ACS, ALB (“Addicted”).  Ken W. remembered that “People were laughing so hard they were rolling on the ground.” Ken hopes that the memories of such a super-successful contest from last year will bring people back this year for an even more successful…and even funnier… contests on the 31st. Professional General Evaluator Zaq Perez peered into his crystal ball and foretold of a wonderful evaluation session with the help of his evaluation superstars of the future Linda Klein (for Diana) and Chi Simons DTM (for Ken W.) The Back To The Future Prognosticators (BTTFP) put their stamps of approval on the meeting with reports by Grammarian David Hundeby, Timer Latisha Simpson, Holo-deck Data Manipulator Zac Perez, AH Counter Joey Jacobshaven and Vote Counter Susan Storma ACB, ALB. Our guest Sherrin Daniel, Scott Mellen and Robert Borr were unanimous in their praise of the meeting! If this meeting is any indication of Club #28’s future… the best years are yet to come.

“It’s Starting Again!” is the usual gleeful phase that was heard just before the August 3, 2017 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting but this time it was also the theme of the meeting. To start the meeting Linda Klein used a quote from Dale Turner “Some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes. The errors of the past are the wisdom of the future.” To get the meeting started. Our Toastmaster for the evening Renee Ellis explained that “It’s starting again” really meant that it was “back to school time!” Renee gave us fascinating insight into the many, many facets of just what children returning to school after summer vacation entails. $7.7 billion dollars were spent on kids clothing and back to school fashion trends in 2011. Not to mention the $100 per student in supplies. We learned that 7.2 million teach school in the United States, from pre-K to college. Other facts we learned: even though Thomas Jefferson was a supporter, there were no public schools until 1840; High Schools became required to keep children out of the workforce and the standard pencil writes 45,000 words or a straight line of 35 miles! Diana Walley ATMG, CL was ready with an abbreviated Table Topics session (due to there being three speakers) but still found some excellent answers to her questions. “If you were to name a hurricane after someone who would it be? Zaq Perez said that “Ivan” would be the name because he remembered just how scary the 2004 Hurricane Ivan was when it threatened Florida. “I don’t even get out of bed for anything less than a category 4” said Zaq. “Who would you like to add to Mt. Rushmore?” was asked of Joey Jacobshagen. Joey chose “Jesus, because he could be the ‘President of the world!’” Joey also mused “Think about the health care plan he would come up with.” Question three was for Alphaeus Flood. Diana inquired of him “What kind of machine would you like to re-design?” It took less than a second for him to answer” the car.” He added “We need to make a flying car!”  Alphaeus dreamed about how nice it would be to fly over heavy traffic. He also remarked on how easy it was to get a license in Florida. The last question “If you were Snow White’s 8th dwarf… what would you call yourself?” brought had an unexpected answer from Detra Flood CC. She said that she would like to call herself “Miracle!” She also spoke about an uncontrollable urge to sing ‘Hi Ho’!”  Later in the meeting when asked what he would like to use at will from nature, David Hundeby expressed a need to control “wormholes” to travel through space and time. Our first speaker tonight Latisha Simpson brought a wonderful message in a speech titled “My Greatest Investment”. Latisha spoke about ways we should learn to love ourselves. These included being alone and learning and grow from it by meditating, reading, writing… “learn to love the time you are by yourself.” She explained how “quality time” is important. “Time should be seen as a ‘prized possession’, know what you like and what like to do.” More advice included: value your own opinions, put your best foot forward and do not let yourself down. Latisha spoke about giving yourself “the space to fail” and yet to push to achieve your goals. This speech was encouraging even if it was just encouraging us to encourage ourselves. The second speaker was Emily Ceskavich with a speech titled “Interview Techniques I Learned from Oprah”.  Admitting that she was “Born to watch Oprah Winfrey”, Emily realized that after years of watching her show, Oprah had  standard interviewing techniques. She also found that she could use these in her profession. Emily commented that Oprah made the “guest feel safe to share” starting with the seemingly trivial and working up to the questions that everyone wanted answered. Another technique Emily noted was how Oprah used an expert (such as Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz) to go into more depth on a subject. Lastly, Emily commented on how Oprah followed up with her interview by summarizing and allowing the celebrity to elaborate. We learned a lot from Emily in this speech… and from Oprah!  Our third speaker Daniel Gutierrez also brought with him a remarkable speech titled “Understanding Habits.”  Pointing out that the brain works by recognizing and creating familiar pathways. Thus “forming habits”. In essence, there is a “Que” the physical response to stimuli; the “Routing” or a semi-conscious routine and the “reward” a pleasurable event, often involving security. Daniel explained that “You cannot really ever ‘get rid’ of a habit but habits can be manipulated.” He gave a way to interfere in the “habit cycle” by first identifying the habit and the finding a new routine and exchanging that for a new “reward”. “Instead of going to a candy store and eating sweets, I now go to a Coffee shop and drink a coffee and read.” Said Daniel, “The little changes will end up making big changes in your life.”  School was just starting for our speakers as General Evaluator Zaq Perez introduced his fellow evaluators to teach some lessons on vocal mastery. Giving all “A”s were Susan Storma ACB, ALB (for Latisha); Chi Simons DTM (for Emily) and Linda Klein (for Daniel). Also helping to educate were the “Teacher’s Pets” (TP) functionaries consisting of Grammarian Alphaeus Flood, AH Counter Joey Jacobshaven, Audio/Visual Assistant Zaq Perez, Timer Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Marie Loeffler DTM. Our guest Jean Carlo Valderrama all had very positive comments about the meeting. He even pledged to join the club! Club #28 member Julian Castano CC was also welcomed back warmly as he had been away for some time. Two major events also took place at this meeting: The club gave a standing ovation to Chi Simons DTM for earning her Distinguished Toastmasters Award! It was announced as well that Daphne Hart ACS, ALB was awarded the “Ken Walley Outstanding Toastmaster Award” for the 2016-2017 year! There were not enough ‘+’ s to after the ‘A” for this meeting!

Like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, the Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 July 27, 2017 “A Few of my Favorite Things” theme meeting was everyone’s favorite thing! Starting with the beloved occurrence of Ken Walley DTM giving the “thought for the day”. Ken chose not one but two of his pet sayings, both anonymous quotes: “The best things in life are not things” and “The little things in life are not little.”  Our Toastmaster for the evening was Latisha Simpson who told us of many of her favorite things such as Christmas time when “when people actually sing this song.” Latisha said that Christmas was a “a time to try to be selfless” and how she loved “seeing the lights on people’s houses everywhere.” Even more than Christmas in December, she loves “Christmas in July” especially the parties, noting that there was one going on at her house that very moment. Other of her favorite things she mentioned was dark chocolate, YouTube, Oprah (“Everyone’s getting a car!”) and hot chicken wings (“boneless wings are just chicken nuggets!”) Latisha even got the whole club to SINGA Few of My Favorite Things”! It was beautiful. Speaking of a preferred Toastmasters diversion… Table Topics Master Chi Simons ACS, ALS had some wonderful questions for all of us. Chi said that her favorite things were “Zumba and boxing”. Chi asked Daphne Hart ACS, ALB if she had a possession that she “would rather die for than give up”. She said her “Christmas memories”. Daphne’s family had a strong Christmas tradition thanks to her father. She told a story about cheating one Christmas by looking at her present ahead of time and finding much remorse later. “It was not as much fun opening the presents knowing what they were!” We also heard about the dog chasing Santa around the house thinking he was a robber… not knowing it was Daphne’s dad! The next question was for Zaq Perez. He was asked what thing he would like to get back that he had lost. Zaq answered “time.” He spoke about an eight-year relationship that went sour and he wished he could have that time back. Daniel Gutierrez related to what he would do with one extra hour a day. Daniel said he would devote it to reading. He said that he might even consider writing a letter to the White House to add that extra hour. David Hundeby was asked if there was a favorite thing that he loves now that he hated before. David quickly named “Running”. He pointed out when he was in gym class or on the track team, running was a “chore”. Now he loves to run and hopes he “gets lost”. It is a time in which he clears his mind and finds peace but he loves to run with other people as well. Detra Flood CC was given the challenge to find “something to change for the better”. She said that she wanted to dedicate her life to creating “a culture of love and understanding.” She said that Toastmasters is helping her to accomplish that and that “anything is possible!” Along with bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, our three speeches tonight were some of the best things in the world! We started with Linda Klein’s speech “How to make a Puppet Monster”. This delightful speech told us what materials to use and how to create a not-so-scary puppet monster. She even introduced us to “Lilly” who Linda had created at an improv class and which took on a life of her own. Linda and “Lilly” entertained us with an inventive story of a taxi ride to a Toastmasters meeting in which “Lilly” forgot her purse. This was wonderful fun! Our second speech was the Competent Communicator graduation speech for Detra Flood CC titled “The Call: Answered Prayers”. Detra spoke about how her prayers have often been answered, not just by God but by God using other people, sometimes even strangers. She mentioned times when she did not understand why things did not work out as she had wanted them to, only to realize that later even better results than she could have imagined had happened. Detra reminded us that “You are the answer to someone’s prayer! You are God’s resource!”  She spoke of the power of prayer to make chaos into meaning, “God works with stubborn and fearful people.” She pointed to herself and said “even this mess has a message.” In the end Detra thanked us “for walking in her purpose.” This speech was powerfully inspirational and meaningful. Congratulations Detra!  The last speech was a humorous speech from the Advance Storytelling Manuel by Diana Walley ATMG, CL titled “Who’s Alien is this Anyway?” Diana told the story of the day as a 10-year-old going to the hospital with her family to see her new baby sister for the first time. She had expected to see a “plump, round faced ‘Gerber baby’ like the one I had seen on TV.” Instead the first sight of her sister recalled an “Alien from who knows what!” Aghast at the newborn’s exposed red and blue veins and “football sized head” she was convinced they had taken the wrong baby. Diana attempted to get her parents to return the child “before the alien family came after them!” In the end Diana’s fears were relieved and in a few weeks’ time, her sister “became beautiful.”  The reviews of these three speeches did not come in “brown paper packages tied up with strings” but with reasoned evaluations from our evaluation team led by General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM. Helping Ken B. were evaluators Renee Ellis (for Linda), Ken Walley DTM (for Detra) and Zaq Perez (for Diana). These are some of my favorite things: the “Cream Colored Ponies” (CCP) who helped us out with excellent reporting; Grammarian Chi Simons ACS, ALS, Timer Daniel Gutierrez, Crisp Apple Streudel maker and Cameraman Zaq Perez, AH Counter David Hundeby and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM. If we had them, doorbells and sleigh bells would have rang out during our standing ovation for Detra’s CC… but what we really needed was schnitzel with noodles. The best way that I can describe this meeting was like “wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings.” Exhilarating and amazing! I guess you could call this meeting “one of my favorite things.”

The hopes for the July 20, 2017 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Winging it!” theme meeting was “sky high” and this flight of fearless phonics did not disappoint! Joey Jacobshagen used a quote from Thomas Edison for the second week in a row to start the meeting: “”I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.” Our Toastmaster for the night was Renee Ellis who cleared security with some fascinating facts about flying. She told us that an entire airline was once lost in a poker game, that airlines do not pay a tax on fuel because planes only taxi to the runway, that it is legal for Hawaiians to carry one box of pineapples on flights and that the North Korean government uses its official airline carrier to bring in McDonald’s hamburgers for its leaders while much of the rest of the country starves! Renee had many other amazing… and shocking… tidbits about Airlines. Flying the friendly skies of Table Topics was Diana Walley ATMG, CL who confessed that she really was “winging it” tonight. Diana brought a pack of “Table Topics cards” with haphazard questions that she would ask at random. They turned out to be wonderful. Steve Wood CC, CL drew the card “Who would you name for ‘Person of the Year’? Steve noted that TIME magazine awarded that title and he never liked the magazine after they got a story wrong about the health benefits of taking vitamins. He also pointed out in the “cholesterol controversy about the Lipid Hypothesis” that the health editor of TIME backed the wrong side. The second question for David Hundeby, was based on Andy Warhol’s quote that “in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” David said that he certainly had not become famous yet and “why was Warhol so famous anyway?” He admitted that he was not impressed with his artwork nor any of his movies. David confessed that he only saw one of Warhol’s films and he “just didn’t get it.” Ken Blake DTM drew the card with the question of “If you could live to be 100, what would you like to see?” Ken said that many his family had lived to that age… on his mother’s side. He noted that his father like to drink and smoke, but even so he still lived into his 90’s. Ken reasoned that to live to be 100 you need “some luck and to not do things in excess.” Our guest Joseph Vasi was given a random question by Diana of “Who would you bring back to life if you could?” Joseph picked Walt Disney because he would like to see what he would think about how his vision had grown and he would also like to hear any ideas that Walt might have to expand his dream. The last question for Linda Klein was “What was the best birthday celebration you ever had?” Noting that her twin sister and her hardly ever celebrated their birthday when they were growing up, they were surprised to have a big 16th birthday party with all their neighborhood and school friends invited! Now she only wants one thing for her birthday… a letter from each of her grandkids! This meeting really “took off” with our speeches! The first of three speeches lined up on the runway was Emily Ceskavich giving her second speech titled “My Big Brother”. This was an amazing tribute to a brave man who consistently faced his fears and overcame trying obstacles in life. Emily traced her relationship with her brother Alex back to when they were young, having the typical childhood competitions. Soon Alex ran into trouble with his parents when he dropped out of college. As Emily grew apart as they got older, Alex succeeded in setting up a business of his own, but at a high cost. He developed overwhelming anxiety that threatened his ability to function. He was facing a “false dream” said Emily. They reconnected at a family wedding and Alex later realized that his sister Emily could be the answer to helping reduce his fears and expand his talents. They are now embarking on a business adventure together. The second speaker Susan Storma ACB, ALB was giving her last speech to obtain her Advanced Communicator Bronze titled “The Current Wars”. Susan told the story of the intense conflict between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison between AC and DC electric currents including a reenactment of a botched execution. This story had everything, including heartless experimentation, corporate intrigue, corruption, backstabbing and in the end, the science that prevailed to vindicate Tesla. Sometimes history tells a tale that fiction could not even imagine. The last speaker, Ken Walley DTM, provided a “shotgun wedding” of an informative speech and a folk tale titled “TLI: A Folk Tale” Ken W. told the tale of a “lost” Toastmaster “Latisha” who had just become the Sgt. At Arms for her Toastmaster Club and had no idea of what she was supposed to do. Ken painted a picture of the wonderful world of the Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) where all of Latisha’s dreams came true and she gained vast knowledge in communication and leadership skills! From the magic opening session to the final 50/50 raffle, Ken transported us to a land of learning and opportunity. General Evaluator Steve Wood CC, CL earned his wings as the General Evaluator by introducing a seasoned group of speech navigators: Chi Simons ACS, ALB (for Emily), Zaq Perez (for Susan) and Ken Blake DTM (for Ken W.) Another first class section of the meeting was provided by the Toastmasters World Advisors (TWA) consisting of Grammarian Latisha Simpson, Timer Linda Klein, Photo Flight Captain Zaq Perez, AH Counter David Hundeby and Vote Counter Joey Jacobshaven. Our guests Jean Carlo Valderrama and Joseph Vasi were also “above the clouds” with high praise for the meeting! This meeting may have started off with a “wing and a prayer” but it landed with one of our best meetings ever!

July 12, 2017 was the second of two special Wednesday Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meetings. This assemblage featured the theme of “The Tortoise and the Hare” which turned out to be a perfect metaphor for the meeting itself. Starting this “race” on a fast pace was Susan Storma CC, ALB with a quote from Thomas Edison “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Also jumping into the Tortoise and Hare theme with many wonderful insights was Toastmaster Zaq Perez. Zaq said that there were many lessons to be learned from the famous children’s fable. One lesson is to have purpose. Another was inner-strength: “Find your own fuel, your inner-strength, your motivation to accomplish what you set out to do.”  Another lesson related to with finding balance. Zaq explained “It was a race, right? Was the tortoise, to slow? The hare to self-defeating? What if we had a third character, a level-headed beaver. Would not the beaver, the middle of two extremes have won the race?” Winning the race for the best Table Topics Master on this night was Susan Storma CC, ALB. Her first question was for Zaq! “Are you a tortoise or a hare?” Zaq said he was a hare mostly, especially when he was younger. This caused many problems. “I did not stop to think things out, often making rushed choices and impulsive decisions. I learned later that going ‘slow and steady’ wins the race” Ken Walley DTM was asked if his personality had changed since he was a kid. Ken said the “good parts of his personality now are the things that have not changed; a love for learning and a curiosity for life.” He admitted that he must remind himself to “slow down” and enjoy things more as he gets older. Latisha Simpson was asked what advice she would ask from an 80-year-old. Latisha said first thing she would ask is how the person got to be 80 years old! She would also like to know the “secret to retiring well” but even more important, to learn about the person, their history and knowledge. David Hundeby was asked if there was a “moment that changed his life”. David said it was the realization that it was not possible to accomplish everything and that he would have to “take stock and make choices of what he wanted to do with his future.” In that moment, “I realized that I had taken control of my life.” The philosophical request reserved for Linda Klein was “Are things ‘meant to be’ or are we in change of our own destiny?” Linda answered that we have “a triumphant destiny planned by our creator” but to achieve “our best” we have make real-life decisions of our own. “Some choices are good, which move us towards success, other are poor decisions which will hold us back if we do not learn from them.”  Linda also noted that the experience we gain as we get older, does not mean that that experience will always be helpful in an ever-changing world. Daphne Hart ACS, ALB was asked who she would like to emulate. She used many the people in Club #28 as examples of those that she learns from, while mentioning almost everyone present! She re-affirmed that Toastmasters was a moving force in her life and a great educational source. The last question of our Table Topics session was for Detra Flood: “What bad experiences turned out to be the best?” Detra said that life is so hard sometimes that she feels as if she is “in an arena slaying a dragon. Tough times shows you just who you really are. To my own amazement, sometimes I come out a hero. I look at my family, my kids asleep at night and I whisper to myself: ‘I am here for you.’” We had two amazing speeches starting with Diana Walley ATMG, CL who gave a personal recollection titled “Many Hats”. Diana covered the many and varied careers that she had held during her lifetime. These included office manager, graphics design and marketing consultant, human resource director, non-profit organization president, jewelry seller, screen porch repair person, TV dish salesperson, phone solicitor and, of course, a realtor! She stressed that life often will force you to change but the ability to “re-invent” yourself often leaves you stronger than what you were before. Our second speaker Alphaeus Flood gave a speech titled “3 Steps for Buying a House”. Alphaeus, a Realtor gave some very practical and helpful advice on how to go about buying a house. He stressed the need to be pre-qualified. “Before you buy… pre-qualify!” said Alphaeus, “This will save a lot of time and energy for both you and your real estate agent.” Next, he spoke about the need to do research. “Knowing what you want ahead of time and what is in you budget is going to make things go faster and smoother.” Lastly, Alphaeus said to know what is a fair, qualifying offer. “If you ‘low-ball’… you could lose it all!” This was a must-see speech for anyone in the market of buying a new house. Detra Flood returned to lectern to serve as the General Evaluator bringing with her two of Club #28’s best evaluators: Zaq Perez (for Diana) and Ken Walley DTM (for Alphaeus). The “Fast But Steady Officials” (FBSO) also added wisdom to this “race to the finish” thanks to Grammarian Latisha Simpson, Timer Daphne Hart ACS, ALB, Photo Finish Camera Ken Walley DTM, AH Counter Linda Klein and Vote Counter Susan Storma CC, ALB. Our guest, Patti Roberts was very positive about the meeting praising the organization of the club. Even though we had only a small turnout for this gathering, Club #28 combined the quick speed of organization and the slow and steady advance of learning communication skills, leadership skills and just having a lot of fun… to the finish line on time!

July 7, 2017 was a special Wednesday edition new beginning for Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. We started a fresh Toastmasters term with a meeting theme of “New Beginnings”. Starting the new Toastmasters year off to a wonderful start was Alphaeus Flood with a perfect quote from Mark Twain: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Addressing the club for her first time as the official President of Club #28 was Detra Flood. She got the meeting headed off in the right direction by also introducing herself as the Toastmaster! Detra spoke about some new beginnings in her life and how they bring about opportunity and life lessons. She spoke about her marriage to Alphaeus and the birth of her daughters and how these were things that she treasured above all, even though it signaled a completely new phase of her life. She also mentioned taking on the role of Club #28’s president, even though her first reaction was intimidation. Later she found the courage to take on this challenge, knowing that there are leadership benefits worth pursuing. Another person up for the challenge was Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM who came armed with some excellent questions about new beginnings. “How are your New Year’s resolutions working out?” was asked of Zaq Perez. Zaq said he stopped making resolution “about 5 years ago” because of the frustration of not keeping them. He remembers how hard it was to find a place to work out in the gym the day after New Year’s and how the gym was almost empty only a couple of weeks later! The second question “Do you remember a memorable first day of school?” was given to Emily Ceskavich. Emily spoke about how a career change she was in the middle of now, going freelance. She said that it gave her the same feelings of excitement and uncertainty that she remembers when going back to school after the holidays. Diana Walley ATMG, CL spoke about her first car: a 1969 Camaro and how cool it was even though it broke down a lot. She also remembered owning a 1966 Renault Dolphin with a crank to start it! “What invention would you like to see?” was given to Steve Wood CC, CL who would like to see a “device that turns off inertia” so that we could go to “Mars on a 9-volt battery.” He also spoke about how going from one job to another seems like a “complete waste of knowledge.” Our visiting new Area 32 Director Mona Cherkaoui ACG, ALB spoke about new changes in her life. “Every day is a new beginning.” She said, “Take advantage of every new moment because it might have immense potential.” Another guest, Randolph Burks spoke about coming to America from Jamaica and how overwhelming it seemed when he arrived in New York city. He said that adapting to this strange environment changed him fundamentally, making him stronger. Later, we found out that he had written a book on the subject titled “Journey of Perseverance from Jamaica to America”! Our other guest, Kenna Pell was asked what she did and what her first day on the job was like. Kenna works at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex! She remembered her orientation at the NASA center to be “pretty inspiring”.  The last question, for Marie Leoffler DTM was: “What was the worst event of your lifetime and what good came of it?” While she admitted that it may not have been the very worst event but the closing of her dance studio that she had put so much time and effort into was “traumatic.” It led however to her getting her degree in fine arts from Dartmouth College which opened many other doors for her, including becoming the director the fine arts department at another university. We were blessed with three excellent speakers the ultimate way to start off the new Toastmasters year! Our first speaker Lily Phuong-Tang returned to the lectern after a long absence. She re-joined our club just last week and was already in front of an audience with her 2nd speech titled “Experience”. Lily told that only a few weeks ago she started feeling “very tired” and she could not figure out what was causing it.  The next day at work, she barely got through the day. She was exhausted when she came home and went right to bed. She realized that she was getting sick and over the next 48 hours, she called into work and stayed in bed hoping to recover. It got worse, to the point where her “mouth and nose seemed to separate.” No medicines or home-cure helped. “I could not breathe!” she said, “I could not drink.” Lily worried about getting back to her work and being with her family. “Then I tried something different. Prayer!” Incredibly, prayer worked! She claimed down and soon afterwards returned to normal and even work the next day. “Maybe it was all just emotion… but prayer was the turning point! I felt even better than ever, like I could do anything… even return to Toastmasters! So here I am!” Our second speaker was Susan Storma CC, ALB who is in pursuit of her Advanced Communicator Bronze Award. Speaking from the very challenging “Technically Speaking Advanced Manuel” Susan gave another remarkably professional speech titled “Bucket List Alaska” a speech worthy of any DTM. We gathered an amazing amount of information about Alaska, and… along with Susan… planned for the trip of a lifetime to our most northern state. We planned the transportation we would take, where we would stay and what we would do. The list was extensive, we also had to consider when to go (temperatures reach -17 on a regular basis in Alaska. What Susan came up with was a trip with eye-popping scenery, luxurious travel, wonderful food and even a stay at the Kennecott ghost town. I want to leave now!  Our third speaker, Daphne Hart ACS, ALB was just as impressive with her speech titled “Destiny: The Story of Esther” She gave a dramatic performance of the Old Testament story of Esther, a Jewish Queen of Persia, who saved the Jews from a plot by a malefactor, Haman, in the reign of king Ahasuerus. Daphne took on the persona of Esther, even in full costume and using many props to tell this ancient tale! It was excellent theater! It was not going to be easy for any group of evaluators to analyze such brilliant presentations but the group of mentors headed by General Evaluator/ President /Toastmaster Detra Flood was most impressive indeed. Supporting Detra were evaluators Zaq Perez (for Lily), Marie Loeffler DTM (for Susan) and Area Director Mona Cherkaoui ACG, ALB. Also helping to make our new Toastmasters term a success was the First Start Facilitators (FSF) featuring Grammarian Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Timer and Video Watchdog Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Emily Ceskavich and Vote Counter Alphaeus Flood. Our guests Kenna Pell and Rudolph Burks were equally enthusiastic about our meeting, all pledging to return. For a “new beginning” in the middle of the year, this was a phenomenal place to start!

OFFICIAL MEETING MINUTES: The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. Date: Thursday 6/29/2017 Theme: Summer Celebration and Installation of Officers! Location: Herndon Branch Library.

6:59 pm: Sgt. At Arms Renee Ellis: 1 minute warning.

7:00 pm: Call to Order by incoming Sgt. At Arms Renee Ellis

Introduction of Marie Loeffler DTM to give the Invocation and lead the Pledge to the Flag. She quoted from Toastmasters founder Ralph Smedley DTM: “Ours is the only organization I know that is dedicated to the individual. We work together to bring out the best in each of us and then we apply these skills to help others.”

7:04 pm: Introduction of Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 President Jack Wharton ACS, ALB. Welcome and introductions of our guests: Cheryl Baldespages, Brenna Droege CC (Past Club #28 member), Amy Sims CC (Past Club #28 member) and  a welcome to visiting dignitary Past Area 30 Director Scott Maloney ACB, ALB. Jack also announced that the “Ken Walley Outstanding Toastmaster of the Year” Award, listed in the program, would not be presented tonight and would be presented at a later, yet to be decided date.

7:08 pm: Introduction of Master of Ceremonies Ken Walley DTM. Welcome. Acknowledgment of returning Past Presidents Jack Wharton ACS, ALB; Diana Walley ATMG, CL, Steve Wood CC, CL; Marie Leoffler DTM, Chi Simons ACS, ALS and President-elect Detra Flood.

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[l to r: Past Club #28 Presidents Steve Wood, Jack Wharton, Detra Flood, Chi Simons, Ken Walley, Marie Leoffler. Seated Front, Diana Walley ]

Explanation of meeting format: Part one: prepared speeches and evaluations. Part two: “State of Club “speech, the installation of new officers and the “Inaugural Address” of the incoming President.

7:12 pm: Introduction of the featured speaker Renee Ellis (Speech #9 Basic Manuel.) Title: “The Rest of the Story” 5 to 7 minutes.  A moving and inspiring call to “Adopt not shop” future pets. Renee told of the success adopting her dog Dexter and the endless, unconditional love that she has received in return. She urged us to follow her example and rescue a pet soon. This was an important, moving, inspiring and even fun speech!

Ken Walley DTM called for Individual written evaluations after the speech.  Timer’s Report by Diana Walley ATMG, CL on Renee’s speech: 6:22.

7:40 pm: Evaluations of our speaker: Zaq Perez  (for Renee). Timer Report on evaluator Zaq by timer Diana Walley ATMG, CL 3:24.

7:50 pm: Introduction of Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 President Jack Wharton ACS, ALBState of the Club Address”. Jack announced that he was moving to Ocala and would only be able to visit the club on a limited basis but that he would try to visit as much as possible. He spoke about how this club had had a powerful impact on his life both professionally and personally. President Wharton gave a long list of accomplishments the club had achieved including reaching the 30 members goal and an incredibly successful membership drive. He spoke about having two of our members earn the “triple crown” achievement award. The mentioned the “7 of 7 Award”, the recognition for all of Club #28’s seven officers attending the Toastmaster Learning Institute. President Wharton also touched on the strong mentorship program we have developed. He was most proud of the club earning its 9th straight President’s Distinguished Award, it’s Fifteenth in 18 years. Jack gave lavish praise on his fellow officers for their hard work and dedication. He pointed out his VPE Steve Wood CC, CL’s accomplishments creating speech marathons and filling in during times he was unable to be with the club. He was “extremely optimistic” about the future and the next group of officers as already some of the DCP goals are already being met for the next term!”

7:58 pm: Ken Walley DTM introduced Area 30 Director Hasheem Francis ACB, ALB to preside over the installation of the new officers and the “Passing of the Gavel” Ceremony. [Approved by unanimous proclamation of a quorum of Club #28 members on 6/7/17. Motion to Approve and make unanimous: Jack Wharton ACS, ALB. Second: Steve Wood CC, CL.]

Sworn in as officers by Area 30 Director Hasheem Francis ACB, ALB and effective on 7/1/16 at 12:00 PST: Sgt. At Arms: Latisha Simpson, Secretary: Daniel Gutierrez, Treasurer: Zaq Perez, Vice President of Membership: David Hundeby*, Vice President of Public Relations: Alphaeus Flood, Vice President of Education: Renee Ellis, President: Detra Flood. (*Unable to attend ceremony.)

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[l to r: SSA Latisha Simpson, Treasurer Jack Perez,  Secretary Daniel Gutierrez, Area Director Hasheem Francis, VPE Renee Ellis, President Detra Flood and VPM Alphaeus Flood.)

8:10 pm: The Inaugural Address by Detra Flood was one of the most inspiring and powerful messages ever delivered to a Toastmasters Club by an incoming President. She set a theme for the upcoming Club #28 Toastmasters year: “Commit to the Finish Line!” Detra expressed her amazement at becoming the president of the “Oldest Club East of the Rockies” and how less than a year ago she was just learning what Toastmasters was all about.  She expressed a deep gratitude for the honor and the opportunity to challenge herself to become a better leader and to help others. She also realized that she could not do this alone and would need the support of every member of Club #28. She spoke of the benefits of joining Toastmasters and of the unlimited successful future that the members of this club can have if they take the opportunity to take advantage of them. She also spoke with pride of our club and set out goals of mentorship, membership and achievement. She ended with an emphatic “I’m Detra Flood and I approve this message!”.  [“Silent” evaluation by Daphne Hart ACS, ALB.]

Ken Walley DTM called for a standing ovation to recognize Club #28 President Jack Wharton ACS, ALBKen Walley DTM called for a standing ovation to recognize Club #28 President Detra Flood.

8:15 pm: Re-introduction of Area 30 Director Hasheem Francis ACB, ALB who announced the upcoming TLI Officer Training on July 29th at the Calvary Assembly Church in Winter Park.

8:25 pm: Ken Walley DTM asked for our guest’s impressions of the meeting. The comments were extraordinarily positive.

8:30 pm: Motion to adjourn by Ken Blake DTM. Second by Lily Dhong Tang.

Members and guests attending: Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Ken Blake DTM, Marie Loeffler DTM, Brenna Droege CC*, Amy Sims*, Steve Wood CC, Susan Storma CC, Scott Maloney ACB, ALB; Chi Simons ACS, ALS, Cheryl Baldespages*, Latisha Simpson, Zaq Perez, Detra Flood, Daniel Gutierrez, Alphaeus Flood, Renee Ellis, Area 30 Director Hasheem Francis ACB, ALB, Lily Phuong- Tang [Re-joining New member] and Ken Walley DTM. (* Denotes guests.) Submitted & Signed: Daniel Gutierrez, Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Secretary.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 June 22, 2017 “Home Sweet Home Improvement” theme meeting had the warmth of a true Toastmasters homecoming. Joey Jacobshagen used a quote from Josh Billings to get the meeting started: “Consider the postage stamp: It’s usefulness consists in its ability to stick to something until it gets there.” Our Toastmaster on this evening was Susan Storma CC, ALB. She spoke about her adventures in home improvement, including some projects with her husband that got started but sometimes were finished by professionals. One story Susan told, described an attempt to put a shower stall into her mother’s bathroom, which ended up having them tear down an entire wall to fit it in! Susan said, retrospectively; “The lesson here is to measure ahead of time!” Also doing some “house” work was our “General Contractor” and Table Topics Master Jack Wharton ACS, ALB    Jack brought a tool-box full of questions for our toastmasters starting with Marie Leoffler DTM. “Tell us about your dream home?”  Marie said that her dream home would have to be “on the water”, preferably on the east coast so that she could watch “the dolphins from the veranda.” Marie said it had to be by the water because “water is peaceful and relaxing.” The next question was for our newest member of the #28 family, David Hundeby. “Have you ever done a home improvement project?” He said that he had, but a few of them he wondered why he started them, after he got half-way through. One project he remembered, was learning how to be a “roofer” … thanks to a hurricane!  David said that he “watched my neighbor and did what he did.” Jack wanted to know what Steve Wood CC, CL thought of the saying “Home is where the heart is.” Steve said that his heart goes wherever he goes so I guess “home is wherever I am.” He mentioned that he dreams of moving to Arizona “to see the sky better.” Daniel Gutierrez commented on a family tradition of having chicken soup at the end of the month. The soup was quite opulent with potatoes, vegetables and thick broth. He remembered as a kid the adults fighting over who got to kill the chicken! The next question involved naming “the happiest place in the house”. Zaq Perez said it was “on the couch watching TV.” The last question, for Joey Jacobshagen asked “Where in the USA would you best call home?”  Joey said in the mountains of Colorado, Cripple Creek by Carson City to be exact. “There are mountains, snow, skiing and hiking. I like the cold weather rather than the hot.” Our three speakers tonight were all brilliant. Robert Bacchus presented an inspiring and motiving speech titled “The Virtues of Lifting”. Robert told how over time by lifting weights he had learned to focus, not only while weightlifting but also in the other aspects of his life. He also found that getting up at 4:00 in the morning, spending 3000 or more hours lifting weights, and adding 5 pounds at a time to the burden, had helped him gain self-discipline, knowledge, dedication, goal achievement and self-improvement. He announced that last week he set a personal record by lifting over 450 pounds! “These virtues are all waiting for you” said Robert, “all you have to do is pick up a piece of iron! Our second speaker, Daphne Hart ACS, ALB delivered an International speech-worthy presentation titled “I Found my Sweet Spot” She told about how she had found her “sweet spot” as a hair stylist. It is a job she loves that gives her a chance to express her creativity. Daphne told how 4 clients of hers, people that had come in off the street to get their hair done, ended up changing her life. The heart-rendering stories of Faith, Joni, Kathleeah and Elenore touched all of us with their lessons of personal perseverance while facing overwhelming challenges in their lives and the impact they had on Daphne’s world. It left us thinking that you never know who you might meet next and how they might affect your life. The last speaker, Chi Simons ACS, ALB working from the advanced Speaking to Entertain manual, entertained everyone with the story about how she found her future husband titled “Husband Material”. Noting that any potential mates had to go through a grueling “interview process” that included her parents and many brothers and sisters. Her father was the worse of all, rejecting suitors based on traditional Vietnam cultural reasons, age concerns and any other thing he could think of. But Chi was just looking for a “guy that could cook for her.” Finally, after a number of eligible bachelors had not worked out, Chi’s sister matched her up with just the right guy! He even passed her father’s “pick up a banana with chopsticks” test! In the end it was Chi, not her family that found the man of her dreams. “Stick to your guns” said Chi, “follow your dreams and your heart… and don’t let anyone else dictate to you.”  These three truly excellent speeches all deserved the loving care that you might give to your home during a renovation and General Evaluator / Interior Decorator Renee Ellis oversaw the remodeling with her crew of evaluators: Diana Walley ATMG, CL (for Robert), Ken Blake DTM (for Daphne) and Ken Walley DTM (for Chi). Also helping to bring the Sweetness to our “Home Sweet Home” was the Motley Support Crew (MSC) of Grammarian/Plumber Zaq Perez, Timer/Electrician Marie Loeffler DTM, Photo Surveyor Steve Wood CC, CL, AH Counter/ Painter Daniel Gutierrez and Vote Counter/Landscaper Joey Jacobshagen.  Our guests, Edwin Leger and Dan Koehler felt right at home and had wonderful comments about the meeting. At the end of the day, if your home-sweet-home is going through some home improvements, you can see how beautiful it all came out. This meeting was like that.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 June 6, 2017 “Clichés” theme meeting was as good as it gets. Starting right out of the gate, to get the ball tolling was Sgt. At Arms Renee Ellis who introduced Joey Jacobshagen for the thought of the day. Joey chose a quote from M. Scott Peck: “It is in the whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.” Let’s give a “big hand” to Ken Blake DTM who did a “bang-up job” as our Toastmaster. Ken visited many, many clichés as he went through the night,  some well-known and some not as familiar… telling us their origin and meanings including: “You can’t judge a book by its cover”, “Do as I say and not as I do”, “Easy as pie”, “Eat your own dog food”, “Fits like a glove”, “Flash as a rat with a gold tooth”, “Just fell off the turnip truck”, “He has a screw loose”, “look before you leap”, “I like chalk and cheese” “off the top of my head” and “Piece of cake!” To make a long story short, Ken ended his stint as Toastmaster with a breathtaking dialog composed of nothing but clichés. It was truly the “cat’s meow!” Diana Walley ATMG, CL was the Table Topics Master, a job that was “old hat” to her. She offered some well-worn sayings to our toastmasters to see what they meant to them. The first one “without further ado” was directed at Ken Walley DTM who said it was the “worse thing a toastmaster could say!” He called it a tired, old phrase that meant to “move thing along.” Next was “Will wonders ever cease?” Diana pointed out that this saying was from at least the late 1770’s. Walk Jones DTM told about how his grandmother would tell him to “look up to the sky and you will always see something wonderful or amazing.” He told about seeing a hot air balloon one day, stars on another night and always something to catch his attention. “I’ve seen rain lately” Walk mentioned. “Winging it” was answered by Linda Klein. Linda said that “winging it will often save you.” She pointed out that “It’s a talent! Some are good at it and other don’t have big enough wings.” Another cliché, “A wolf in sheep’s clothing” Diana pointed out, had its origins in the Bible. Jack Wharton ACS, ALB mentioned that one must be careful and that “actions speak louder than words”. Said Jack, some people may be trying to “pull the wool over your eyes!” Steve Wood CC, CL was given “There but the grace of God, go I” and said that  “it means to be lucky.” He also mentioned that sometimes William Shakespeare’s words were “gibberish” to him. “The language changes so often and so much over time, that if I visited say Galileo [Galilei] or [Sir Isaac] Newton; it would be almost impossible to communicate. Susan Storma CC, ALB was asked what it meant to be “Safe and Sound”. She said that “this is a good cliché” as everyone want to be safe and sound. She also liked it because it was “short and sweet” and of “sound body and mind”.  “I don’t know him from Adam” was bravely delved into by guest Roosevelt Michel. He admitted that he had no idea what the first man might have looked like and would not recognize him on the street today. “I certainly would not know of him without the Bible.” Let’s just hope Roosevelt, that he is not walking around wearing a fig leaf! We had three remarkable speeches covering completely different topics. The first speaker, Zaq Perez returned to a subject that he knew very well, taxes. With a speech titled “Fair Tax Act HR 25”. Zaq pointed out that due to the sheer volume of taxes filed, requests answered and returns sent out to the public; that taxes have become hopelessly complex. The statistics he gave were staggering: almost 250 million returns a year, billions of dollars in refunds and almost 30 million in penalties. Zaq encouraged us to support a more uniform taxation system: the “Fair tax Act #25” and a need to “revolutionize the tax system by voting.” The second speaker, Daphne Hart ACB, ALB working towards her Advanced Communication Silver Award, presented a “press conference” introducing the ACORN program. The ACORN project, an acronym for Achieving, Communication, Organization, Reliability and Necessity; which supports public speaking and mentor-ship programs in the grade school through middle school after school curriculum. Ms. Hart deftly fielded questions about the program. “learning communication skills is about creating self- value” she answered on one question, “we may not be able to build a future for our youth but we can support our youth in the future.” The third speaker, Walk Jones DTM who is working his way through the Basic Manuel for a second time, gave us a new speech and an update, on his favorite activity: “Bicycling!” Walk confirmed the suspicions of his wife that he was obsessed with the sport of bike riding. He spoke about the joy and rewarding experience he has helping new riders to accomplish a “century ride” or going on a 100-mile trip. “I have come to love the ‘biking face’!” said Walk, explaining the look of elation on the faces of long-distance bike riders. Walk exclaimed that he wanted to do more, a 200-mile trek, an all-Florida journey or sometime in the future… a cross-USA country trip! “On a trip like that, expect problems” he said. “That is why we do these things, problems give us character, they make us better riders, better people.”  Just in the nick of time, the General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM called together his loyal band of evaluators and went “full speed ahead” into the evaluation section of the meeting! Jack Wharton ACS, ALB (for Zaq), Latisha Simpson (for Daphne) and Susan Storma CC, ALB (for Walk) all gave “two thumbs up” reviews… and I don’t mean maybe! The “Silver Tongued Orators” (STO) signed, sealed and delivered some marvelous reports thanks to Grammarian Renee Ellis, Timer Chi Simons ACS, ALB; Picture Perfect Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Detra Flood and Vote Counter Linda Klein.  Our guests, Roosevelt Michel, David Hundeby, Maria My-duong Son and returning member Lily Phuong-Son were “tickled pink” giving “rave reviews” of the meeting! David “threw his hat into the ring” and joined our club after the meeting! Welcome David! For what it’s worth, this meeting was the “Bee’s knees!”

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 June 7, 2017 special Wednesday “School’s Out!” theme meeting was a liberating experience! Like children scrambling out of the schoolhouse on the last day of classes, Club #28 members eagerly rushed into the Herndon Branch Library meeting room for another uplifting Club #28 event. Linda Klein started the meeting with a quote from Khalil Gibran: “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”  Club #28 President Jack Wharton ACB, ALB called upon the Officer Selection Committee representative Ken Walley DTM to announce the final officer nominations for the next Toastmasters term (July-December 2017). The club unanimously approved incoming officers President Clidetra “Detra” C. Flood, Vice President of Education Renee Ellis, Vice President of Membership Robert Bacchus, Vice President of Public Relations Alphaeus Flood, Treasurer Zaq Perez, Secretary Daniel Gutierrez and Sgt. At Arms Latisha Simpson. Jack also served as our Toastmaster for the evening. Though-out the evening he gave us personal Summertime stories of school years gone by (backyard BBQ, playing baseball “pickle” with his dad and the neighborhood kids, Indiana grass, etc.) but none so moving as the special place that he had in his heart for this year. “My mother retired after teaching High School Spanish for over 20 years!” he announced. “Finally, for my mom… school is out!”  It was wonderful to see Emily Ceskavich return after a few weeks away from Club #28 due to work responsibilities. In a way “school’s out” now for Emily too. She was our Table Topics Master with some awesome questions starting with one for Daphne Hart ACB, ALB: “What are your feelings about ‘School’s out for Summer?’” Daphne said that now that her kids were on their own, she is happy to “explore things for herself.”  The summertime has given her a big opportunity to work with “high-risk” kids, especially a group in Tampa, and the chance to mentor them. “I find this extremely rewarding!” she said.  “Is there an example in which you have used your insight to teach others?” was offered to Diana Walley ATMG, CL. Diana went back to her past to remember a time when she helped others understand the new science of computer programming while getting her degree from Southern University. Emily asked Alphaeus Flood to give us a “summer memory”. He loved going to Disney World! “When I was young my parents were big on education so we spent our time studying a lot.” So when he was older and had a chance go to Disney, being there was even more amazing than it must have been to most kids. One summer, he remembered going “3 or 4 times and loving every single moment of being in the parks!” Chi Simons ACS, ALB re-visited her “favorite teachers.” She had two, one teacher she admired and the other she hopes she’ll never see again. A physical Education teacher pushed her to be better than she ever thought she could be and another teacher, with the same name as her, Chi… thought that because of her name, she should be an example for all the other students! “If you had to reflect on free time as a kid and as an adult, what do you keep and what do you change?” totally stumped Ken Walley DTM. He admitted that he still does many of the things he did as a kid with his free time, such as long walks and watching baseball games. Said Ken, “I guess I am still kind of a kid a heart!” Linda Klein was asked “What is a subject that you would like to learn more about?”  Linda named many different areas she would like to learn more about: dancing, singing, drumming, how to make a puppet… she even said she was taking an improv class with Chi. She wanted to learn more about biking but the traffic is too dangerous in Orlando. She also mentioned helping the homeless to find jobs that they are capable of doing and improving their lives. Wow! That’s a lot! Our three featured speakers for this evening all excelled by inspiring, entertaining and educating their audience. Daniel Gutierrez‘s speech titled “Automation Technology” spoke about why automation should not be feared but embraced. “Automation is the future. It will free us humans of monotonous tasks, do things better, faster and in less time.” Said Daniel. He said that it’s now routine to turn on lights , program music and set alarms using only your voice. “On line” Daniel said “automation makes it possible for your bills to be paid automatically.” Daniel even showed us his robot vacuum cleaner which he programmed to clean part of the library’s meeting room floor!  Our second speaker Diana Walley ATMG, CL earned a CC award by giving her 10th speech since re-joining Toastmasters after a 9 year absence while overcoming the effects of a stroke. Her speech titled “I Will Walk Again!” told of how she was rushed to the hospital after a series of seizures. This would end up just being the start of a year-long odyssey that had her spend two weeks in ICU, suffer a stroke, spend months in a rehabilitation center and finally return home wheelchair-bound. Diana described what it is like to be helpless and unable to do things you once never gave a second thought to. She declared her determination to someday to be able to walk again and proved that she was on the way to recovery by getting up from her wheelchair and walking back to her seat at the end of the speech. Very inspiring! Congratulations Diana on your new CC! The third speaker was Steve Wood CC, CL with a speech that would be of practical and valuable use to anyone who loves getting a good bargain titled “How to Bid on E-bay”. Steve told us “insider secrets” on how to “snipe” or, swoop in at the last minute to out-bid a competitor! He also went into the psychology of wanting to be the highest bidder, even if that works against you in the long run. This was a very insightful and interesting speech! Our evaluation team was headed by General Evaluator Detra Flood. She guided a crackerjack group of evaluators: Chi Simons ACS, ALB (for Daniel), Zaq Perez (for Diana) and Ken Walley DTM (for Steve). All of them gave tremendous advice and constructive encouragement. The “Hey, Teacher… Leave Those Kids Alone” band all chimed in with wonderful counsel thanks to Grammarian Daphne Hart ACB, ALB, Timer Latisha Simpson, Photo Pool Lifeguard Renee Ellis, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Joey Jacobshagen. Our guest Niki Ward and return guest Sudith Lima were both equally thrilled with the meeting, expounding some very positive feedback. This leaves me with the question: Do you know how you felt on the last day of school when the last bell rang? Well, we bring that same kind of jubilation and joy to every #28 meeting!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 June 1, 2014 “Summertime Fun” theme meeting lived up to its theme! The started with an inspiring message by Linda Klein by Garth Brooks: “Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun!” Our Toastmaster Renee Ellis brought back some personal summer memories of her childhood. She told us stories of taking care of neighborhood horses and ponies going on long horseback rides. She remembered going swimming, playing in the mud and building forts with the local kids. Throughout the evening Renee gave us some wonderful images that expressed the joy of playing in the sun. Table Topics Master Diana Walley ATMG, CL also came equipped with some summer fun in the form of cool Table Topics questions!

  1. “Your idea of Summer fun?” answered by Steve Wood CC, CL. Steve said he likes going to the beach. He also said he had a love/hate relationship with clouds. They get in the way of using a telescope but he loves to fly through them in his plane.
  2. “What is your favorite water sport?’ offered to Renee Ellis. Renee said that she has a good time spraying other people with a garden hose!
  3. “Where is a good place to go for a fabulous summer?” was handled by Scott Maloney ACB, CL. Scott made a great case for upstate New York, including Clinton’s Folly and the Green Lake State Park with a few childhood memories of his own.
  4. “What is your Favorite Water Park?” challenged Linda Klein. She settled upon a really large one, called Lake Michigan that she used to visit as a child. She also remembered laying in the sand to keep cool.
  5. “What is your favorite indoor sports?” Reminding everyone that it has been over 95 degrees outside and that staying indoors in Florida lately is a good idea, Ken Walley DTM said he found amusement in playing board games. Although he had to admit that he often gets beaten badly by his wife, Diana.
  6. “What was it like to get out of school for the summer?” Gleefully answered by Daphne Hart ACB, ALB; she remembered the joy of facing seemingly endless days ahead of swimming, playing with friends and bike riding… “just be home by dinnertime!”
  7. “How do you protect yourself from the sun?” was a perfect question for fair-skinned guest Stefanie Reardon. She recommended using lots of sun screen and finding shade as much as possible. She warned that too much sun can be a truly dangerous thing and the need for us to take precaution.
  8. “What do you like to do at the beach?” was answered by Latisha Simpson. Latisha admitted that she does not go to the beach often but she does enjoy it when she goes. “The sun is not my friend” she said but that “she loves salt-water!” She also has fun building sand castles.

We had two excellent speakers thanks to one of them stepping up to give a speech after two of our 3 scheduled speakers were unexpectedly unable to attend. Starting first was the speaker who was scheduled, Robert Bacchus. Robert is making fast headway towards his CC award. His third speech titled “The Most Important Meal” focused on healthy diet. Surprisingly, Robert started by defended his impressive intake of fat during breakfast. Admitting that some fats are harmful, he also illuminated that fat is a very beneficial part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates seemed to be the villain that Robert warned us against. “Stop eating carbs, starting eating fat!’ exclaimed Robert “your insulin levels will cease to spike and drop, spike and drop… Insulin causes damage to the arteries.”  He also championed ketone. “A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It is better than glucose for the system.” We learned a lot about diet from this speech! Stepping up to give a speech at the last minute was Joey Jacobshagen, giving his 4th speech from the Basic Manuel. Joey’s speech titled “Two Pianos” showed from a musician’s view the difference between the classical acoustic piano and the more adaptable modern digital piano. Joey paid homage to the traditional acoustic piano with the understanding that many of the important works of the masters could not have even existed without the use of this instrument. Because of the ability of digital pianos to open new venues in music, he admitted his favor towards this pliable and ingenious instrument. “With the push of a button, I can get this to sound like a sax or a trumpet or build another track.” Acknowledging that there will always be a conversation of which is the most preferred piano, Joey simply looks forward to the contributions of both towards the future of music. These two brilliant speeches both called for a high level of feedback. In charge of the praise and appraisal section of the meeting was General Evaluator Latisha Simpson. Under her guidance came two balanced, fair and uplifting reviews of the speakers given by Scott Maloney ACB, CL (for Robert) and Ken Walley DTM (for Joey). The Fun Business of Imagination (FBI) team also played a big part in this evening’s frolic thanks to Grammarian Detra Flood, Timer Susan Storma CC, ALB; Friendly-Fun-Filming-Farmer Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Daniel Gutierrez and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM. Our guests included some very welcomed back past members Lily Phuong -Tang and Vincent Duong Son. It was good to see you again! Also visiting and fervently exclaiming super-positive comments at the end of the meeting were UCF student Sudith Lima and returning guest Stefanie Renrdon. The theme was “Summertime fun”. Summer is here and this meeting was a whole lot of fun! Perfect!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 25, 2017 “Grand Marathon Finale” was the latest of three straight speech marathons and we saved some of the best speeches for last! Joey Jacobshagen used a Lester Brown quote to start the meeting: “Shot for the moon and even if you miss it you’ll land among the stars.” Toastmaster Jack Wharton ACB, ALB has become a master of leading a speech marathon and put his best effort forward this evening. Before the speeches however celebrations were in order. Jack introduced Chi Simons ACS, ALB who announced that Club #28 had won a lion’s share of awards at the Spring District 84 Conference. The Club was recognized for a “7 of 7 Award” for its unanimous club officer support at the Toastmasters Leadership Institute during office training. There were also membership awards as well totaling $70 in Toastmaster International selections from the International website!  Club member Ken Walley DTM was awarded his Club Ambassador pin for visiting area clubs and Daphne Hart ACB, ALB was also honored with the Triple Crown pin for achieving three Toastmaster designations in one year! She earned her Competent Communicator Award and two advanced awards; her Leadership Bronze and her Communicator Bronze. Most impressive of all was Club #28’s Chi Simons ACS, ALB who earned her Triple Crown award with an amazing 6 Toastmasters designations: CC, CL, ALB, ACB, ACS and her Leadership Excellence Program completion! Congratulations to everyone at Club #28! Jack also introduced the hard- working Speech Marathon Staff of Timer Chi Simons ACS, ALB, Picture Decipherologist Steve Wood CC, CL and Vote Counter Meg Given. Our first speaker of the night was Renee Ellis who is closing in on her CC award. She presented a speech titled “Let the Adventure Begin!” Renee implored us to stop being couch potatoes and to get out there and snorkel! She went over what is required to learn how to snorkel (“not much, really”) and showed us the equipment (mask, fins & snorkel) that we would need to have an amazing adventure in the water. The best part of was Renee’s passion about the “sport” which made everyone want to go to the nearest lake and jump in the water! As Renee said: “With a flick of the fin, let the adventure begin!” The second speech was the Competent Communicator graduation speech for Nick Toporkov CC titled “Prezi is Fun to Make and Present”.  Nick, using a subject he would teach to his university class, introduced us to the cutting-edge technology of PowerPoint presentations: Prezi. He showed us how to design and produce an eye-popping creation with the Prezi program found at Prezi.com. He gave examples of how to edit paths; insert content, photos and videos as well as shape and custom the entire presentation to your audience. While technical in nature, this exhibition was also mind-blowing to those Toastmasters who were looking for a way to really impress at their next presentation. Congratulations Nick! The last speaker was Daphne Hart ACB, ALB offered a speech that could be of use to everyone, everywhere titled “Time Management”. Daphne did this in a most unusual way, she made parallels of time management to the sport of bowling. Noting that a good bowler understands timing, focus, prioritizing and planning; she pointed out that these were the building blocks of achieving successful time management strategies and revolutionizing your life. You might even bowl a perfect game. Even though this was a designated “speech marathon” we only had three speakers because of the length of the speeches and that one speaker had cancelled at the last moment. This gave Jack time to ask one Table Topic question “What is your favorite sport?” The lucky recipient of Jack’s query was Daniel Gutierrez who quickly decided upon baseball. Daniel loved that baseball was such a statistic oriented sport and that so much strategy is involved in the game. Heading up “team evaluations” was General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM who had the honor of introducing a very seasoned group of evaluators, Ken Walley DTM (for Renee), Diana Walley ATMG, CL (for Nick) and Scott Maloney ACB, CL (for Daphne). It should be noted that all the evaluations, including Ken B’s meeting report were brilliant, insightful and helpful. As the meeting came to a close Jack called upon our guests David Hundeby, Stefanie Reardon, Francisco Campos and Scott Maloney ACB, CL to express their feelings about the meeting. All of the comments were beyond positive, extolling the organization, teamwork and fun that was on display this evening. This was indeed another perfect example of Toastmasters, and Club #28 at its best.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 18, 2017 Park Lake Presbyterian Church “Super Speech Marathon” was truly a historic meeting. Hosted by Club President Jack Wharton ACB, ALB, the meeting featured 7 speakers, the most ever in known club history! After the call to order and the invocation and Pledge to the Flag by Latisha Simpson, Jack went directly into our speaking agenda.  The first speech of this super speech marathon was by Meg Given titled “Stuff”. Meg’s speech brought up the time-honored problem of space management. She explained that by “surrounding herself with things she loves”, that she had created a future avalanche of stuff and had run out of room. Even stacking containers and doubling and tripling the use of hangers did not seem to be able to keep up with the overflow of items! Meg’s solution was to make three boxes labeled “Keeper”, “Going” and “Momma-Hoo-Hoo”… for the undecided things. Put the “Momma-Hoo-Hoo” box in the garage and if you do not use an item from the box in a few months, then off it goes to charity. A wonderful idea to stay organized and un-cluttered! The second speaker was Daniel Gutierrez also giving his second speech from the Basic Manuel titled “How Digital Devices Communicate with the Internet”. Daniel explained, briefly, the technical history of the interrelations of digital inputs manipulating the internet. His emphases was on the impact of following the “ICCIP model” for these devices to communicate with the internet, including music through mp3 and other examples. Liking it to a postal metaphor, Daniel described how moving data through routers to assigned IP addresses was like sending mail through different post offices to reach its destination. This electronic lesson made it much more understandable even to those not familiar with the complex digital world. Jack Wharton ACB, ALB took the third speaker slot with an advanced manual speech titled “Appraise with Praise”. In this speech, he hoped to highlight the use of positive feedback, encouragement and constructive guidance to offset disappointment and help keep a student’s interest and willingness to complete the task… or even simply move on. Jack even role played with Zaq Perez giving advice to a speaker who had given a less than successful speech. Jack did this brilliantly, even rekindling Zaq’s eagerness to take on a new, tough challenge while learning from his past failure. The fourth speech of the evening was an insightful, highly moving advanced speech by Susan Storma CC, ALB about a death in the family titled “Spider Mums”. Susan took us bedside to a dying man and told in detail the effects his situation had on his wife, daughter and son. All of them reacted differently. Some with fear, hope, denial, grief, compassion and even love. This speech was an intense study of human emotion and nature. Besides the speech’s beautiful imagery, it laid bare our human strengths and weaknesses while confronting the death of a loved one. Chi Simons ACS, ALB was next up with another advanced speech from the Toastmasters Specialty Speech manual titled “What is Happiness”. She told the story about a homeless man she met in a rainstorm while having to take out the garbage. Trapped beneath some shelter she learned that he had taken a risk with his money and had lost everything. Still he did not let that keep him from finding happiness in helping others, in embracing each blessing that he does have and in the kindness of sharing what he can. Years later, Chi was still passing these lessons forward. Chi can see the blessings she has, big or small, so much clearer now because of the wise words of a chanced stranger. Daphne Hart ACB, ALB was this 6th speaker with an advanced manual speech titled “Water”. Daphne spoke about the benefits of drinking water which included losing weight, boosting energy, younger looking skin and improving memory, among many other things. Daphne noted that 65% of our body weight is comprised of water. “The recommended healthy intake of water each should be eight 8 oz. glasses of water” said Daphne “Water is the most important thing you can give your body.” The last speaker of this historic speech marathon was Ken Walley DTM. Ken’s project was from the Advanced Storytelling manual titled “So This is Hell”. Ken explained that he always loved spicy foods and jalapeno peppers were a required ingredient in most of the food that he ate. Then one day a friend of his at work told Ken about the Trinidad Scorpion pepper he was growing. He gave Ken two of the peppers so he could take the seeds out of them and grow some plants. During the planting, Ken’s head “caught fire” and he ran screaming into the house to cram ice cream up his mouth and nose to stop a searing, intense pain. “I threw myself fully clothed into a tub of cold water but nothing could stop the heat” In the end Ken survived. “I didn’t even eat it.” All of the speeches received evaluations but due to time constraints only two of the speeches were given verbal reviews: Scott Maloney ACB, CL gave the evaluation for Meg’s speech and Walk Jones DTM covered Daniel’s. Other non-verbal evaluators were Diana Walley ATMG, CL for Jack, Ben Rodriguez CC for Susan’s speech, Ken Walley DTM for Chi, Latisha Simson for Ken W.’s speech. Walk gave a second evaluation for Daphne’s speech as well. Others who helped with this unique Club #28 experiment were timer Detra Flood, Shutter Bug Steve Wood CC, CL and Vote Counter Renee Ellis. A picture was taken at the end of the meeting to update the website photo for Club #28. Present for the photo were Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Walk Jones DTM, Daphne Hart ACB, ALB; Detra Flood, Zaq Perez, Ben Rodriguez CC, Ken Walley DTM, Steve Wood CC, CL; Latisha Simpson, Renee Ellis, Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Ken Blake DTM, Meg Given, Susan Storma CC, ALB, Daniel Gutierrez and Chi Simons ACS, ALB.

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Also at this meeting were guests Scott Maloney ACB, CL and Alphaeus Flood.

[Editor’s note: I was not at the May 11, 2017 Meeting. I would like to thank Diana Walley ATMG, CL for taking notes for me at this meeting. Here are her notes. – KHW]

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 had a speech marathon on May 11, 2017, the first of three consecutive weeks. This meeting featured four speakers. The meeting was called to order by the Sgt. At Arms Renee Ellis.  The Invocation and Pledge was delivered by Tea Tran. Our Toastmaster for the evening was acting President Steve Wood CC, CL who introduced functionaries Timer Chi Simons ACS, ALB and Vote Counter Julian Castano CC. The first speaker was Scott Maloney ACB, CL who told about a time that he had developed a sore throat and problems swallowing. “No big deal” he was told at the hospital. He made an appointment with a specialist who [recommended] “balloon dilation”. This would open [the throat] and the problem would be solved “just like that.” They put him under and he had the procedure. Later he got the bill…$15,000! It said it was a “skin allergy” and he should “just manage” from then on. “Manage what?” Scott will never know because his doctor retired. Scott asked the question “What changes are really possible with health care?” Speaker #2 was Steve Wood CC, CL. Steve gave a “science based” speech titled “How Do GPS’s Work?” Steve told us how the Global Positioning System or GPS we so much take for granted work. Our GPS receivers can figure out exactly where we are anywhere in the world. We use satellites. Over 30 navigation satellites are zipping around high above Earth. GPS is a system. It’s made up of three parts: satellites, ground stations, and receivers. We know where the satellites are supposed to be at any given time. Ground stations use radar to locate the satellites. A receiver, like you might find in your phone or in your car, is constantly listening for a signal from these satellites. The receiver triangulates how far away they are from four or more satellites, it then knows exactly where you are. Incredibly, from miles up in space your location on the ground can be determined with incredible precision! They can usually determine where you are within a few yards of your actual location. More high-tech receivers, though, can figure out where you are to within a few inches! Speaker #3 was Zaq Perez with another informative speech titled “How Beer is Made”. He said that Ken Walley DTM had issued him a challenge to give a speech on something he knew nothing about. Zaq choose to research how beer is made. Beer, Zaq learned, has four ingredients: grains such as barley, hops, yeast and water. Zaq led us through the (relatively simple) process of fermentation that ends with the delightful beverage so many of us enjoy today. If you want a Lager beer, store it a bit longer as the beer will continue to ferment. Other beer styles include Pale Ale, Stout, Wheat and Lambic. Now Zaq should be able to make us all beer! The last speaker of our marathon was Susan Storma CC, ALB who told a story for her Advanced Storytelling Manuel project titled “Little Sandy Goes to School”.  Sandy hoped that she could hide behind the sea fan. Her teacher was a tuna. A blue and yellow angelfish called “Angie” made friends with her. Sandy said, “I have a brother named Billy and he’s a clown fish.” They played hide and seek on the shipwreck. Sandy was free of the sea fan. The moral of the story: “you can do anything with a little practice.” Diana Walley ATMG, CL was the General Evaluator. Scott Maloney ACB, CL (for Steve), Meg Given (for Scott), Daphne Hart ACB, ALB (for Zaq) and Detra Flood (for Susan) all gave excellent evaluations! Our one guest Xavier Kutia said that the meeting was “energetic and fun and that he is looking for a new club.” I hope that you have found it here Xavier.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 4, 2017 “The Plant World” theme meeting was a blooming triumph! Tea Tran started the meeting with a very apropos reading of a quote from a Native American saying: “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” Ken Walley DTM was the Toastmaster who came prepared with stories of the Mimosa plant that withers at a touch; The “Corpse Flower Plant” a strange plant with an 8-foot-tall flower that blooms about every ten years and smells of rotting flesh and the “Humongous Fungus” that is over 2,000 years old and is the largest living organism on earth. Ken brought tons of plant trivia such as: “peanuts are used to make dynamite”, “Artichokes are flowers” and “apples contain six teaspoons of sugar.” A highlight of the evening was when Ken described an encounter with a Trinidad Scorpion pepper (1,463,700 scoville units) and his (now) hilarious attempts to tame it’s INCREDIBLY PAINFUL effects upon him. Another Club #28 Toastmaster who has blossomed into a legendary Table Topics Master is Jack Wharton ACB, ALB. It was brought to the club’s attention that his correspondence with Toastmaster Magazine about proper Table Topics etiquette was featured in the most recent edition. Congratulations Jack! Jack’s first question was sown in the rich soil of Diana Walley ATMG, CL’s mind: “What would you grow in your garden?” Diana’s eclectic choices ranged from Roses to Venus Flytraps. She spoke of finding a joy in growing things that she learned  from her Grandmother Monica Wells. When asked what his “favorite plant to eat” was, Joey Jacobshagen offered “lettuce… at Olive Garden!” He admitted that gardening was not his thing, but eating in restaurants was. A vegan diet did not seem to impress Linda Klein who once said she visited a vegan bistro and could not figure out the menu. Tea Tran spoke about the peacefulness of spending time in the woods. “Seeing the sunlight as it passes through the trees, the patterns in a leaf or the different variations of plants to a photographer’s eye, is comforting.” When Ken Blake DTM was asked about climbing tree as a child, we got a story that included a fall from an enormous height next to what was apparently a deadly coral snake! It turned out to be just a rat snake and Ken healed quickly from his bruises. Susan Storma CC, CL explained her feelings towards our state flower, the Orange Blossom. Suisan agreed it should be our state flower because of its wonderful fragrance! The last question was for Yashani Miller: “What plant best represents you?”  Yashani picked a Tangerine tree! She cryptically admitted to wanting to be “a large fruit tree.” Our two speakers were had their speaking duties firmly planted in the proverbial ground of excellence starting with Chi Simons ACS, ALB. Chi, in her quest towards achieving her Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award has taken on the High Performance Leadership (HPL) project. She titled her HPL required speech “I am Bored”. Chi explained that she wanted a real challenge so she took on in essence being the “Club coach” for all of her clubs in the Area 30 where she is serving as the director. “I set out to talk with every member of every club personally to see how I could help them to meet their Toastmasters goals.” From these interviews she shared a number of the needs of her Area 30 Toastmasters and some of the “tips” that she gave them to help them succeed. One of them was overcoming fear. Part of Chi’s advice was to “show up for as many meetings as possible and challenge yourself to take part in each meeting.” This was just the tip of the iceberg, there was a lot of wonderful information in this speech. Congratulations Chi on taking the next step towards your DTM! The second speaker Nick Toporkov overcome some technical difficulties but still delivered another genuinely brilliant speech! Titled “Pink Blood” his speech shared his realization of the almost obvious truth that what we eat affects who we are. Particularly he discussed people with “pink blood”. He gave a vivid example of those people who eat beets. Because of the vegetable’s anti-oxidant properties, they have the effect of turning certain bodily fluids into an extremely light color of red, i.e. pink. He described in detail the process of oxidation in the blood that causes this effect and how certain other foods have a direct and immediate effect on everything from skin color, DNA stabilization, mood swings and even blood color! This speech made you think very hard about what you are eating.  Planting the seeds of wisdom were the Evaluation team led by first time General Evaluator Renee Ellis. Also helping our speakers to grow strong in their speaking skills were Ken Blake DTM (for Nick) and Meg Given (for Chi). The Flowers of Knowledge Gardeners (FOKG) helped to water the plants of creativity with their reports thanks to Grammarian Joey Jacobshagen, Timer and Picture Pruner Steve Wood CC, CL, AH Counter Linda Klein and Vote Counter Susan Storma CC, ALB. We had four visitors Yashani Miller, Paul Anderson, Johanna Toro and Steven Monsalve who brought sunshine of their own with very upbeat and positive comments about the meeting. Like a strong sturdy oak this Club #28 meeting grew above the others, leaving acorns of fun, wisdom and fellowship that will turn into forests of the future!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 April 27, 2017 “Extended Quantity Dialectics Festival” theme was a speech marathon for the ages! It started with Sgt. At Arms Renee Ellis reading the Toastmasters mission statement: “We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.” Diana Walley ATMG, CL read a moving quote from Eleanor Roosevelt “We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all” followed by the pledge to the flag. Club President Jack Wharton ACB, ALB was the Master of Ceremonies for this twice monthly special event. Jack had some announcements before we started with our main speaking events. Standing ovations were called for to celebrate Chi Simons ACS, ALB earning her Advanced Communicator Silver award and our Division C Governor Troy Palmer DTM reaching the highest Toastmasters individual goal by becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster. Jack also introduced our Speaker Regulatory Commission (SRC) which boasted such luminaries as first time timer Tea Tran, Lens Cap Compliance Director Steve Wood CC, CL and Vote Counter Chi Simons ACS, ALB. With a busy agenda, Jack got immediately to our featured speakers starting with the first of two Ice Breaker speeches by Daniel Gutierrez. Daniel’s speech titled “Efficiency, Hobbies and Interests” saw him extend the new Ice Breaker trend of incorporating a Power- point presentation which help put into perspective a very complex job that Daniel holds as computer science manager. A graduate of St. Leo University, Daniel now oversees the 4000 computers that are in use at a private technological think-tank corporation and keeping them in working order. “Just keeping track of where they are takes a great deal of efficiency. Besides his work, we found that Daniel married another Computer Science major Lindsey and the two of them enjoy making furniture, room art and home décor items that they sell over the internet. Daniel seems to live the Millennial dream. Another Ice Breaker titled simply “Tea” given by Meg Given presented her life in a completely different way. From the first time that she tried tea as a child at her grandmother’s house to the present day, she now realizes that that her life and the drink where are completely intertwined. She remembers growing up in a house with 3 brothers and 2 sisters filled with noise and turmoil. There were loud games and a louder drum set played by an oblivious brother with a headset on. But tea seemed to provide a quiet time with grandmother. Even in times of worry and stress, a sister in an iron lung suffering from a polio like disease, a brother who was caught up in a gang war that lost an eye… even then, in the worst of times, tea provided some comfort. Now her love of tea is more than a habit, it is a refuge from a sometimes blaring, often dangerous and very tense world. The speech marathon had a lot to go and continued with our third speaker Nick Toporkov and an immensely consequential presentation titled “Is It Fair?” Nick spoke on the sociological – economic aspects of moral choice. Using an illustration of a “big brother” volunteer who tries to help a youth caught in a poverty and violence filled environment. He failed to keep the youth from being arrested despite his best efforts. When asked what his goals for the young man were, the volunteer said “Not to go to prison and not to get a girl pregnant. Nick alleges that had the bar been set higher, say, to become a community leader, an admired educator, or to go to Harvard… the results would have been much different. “Money makes money” said Nick, “some poor neighborhoods will always be poor. We must not have moral choices governed by social or financial situations. We must admit there is a problem or the problem will get bigger.” Speaking in the 4th place on the program was Daphne Hart ACB, ALB with a selection from the Toastmasters International “Better Speakers Series” titled “Finding Your Topic”. Daphne told us how to avoid “speakers block” when it came to selecting a topic. She also gave her audience a full range of resources to find ideas and challenged us not to be afraid to take on topics that we do not know a lot about. “Research material is out there, including books, magazines, newspapers, websites, personal stories and experience.” She also told us how to narrow our selections down from many topics to the perfect choice for our next speech. This speech was another useful tool for the speechwriter’s toolkit. Our last speaker Ben Rodriguez CC followed up his last speech on Biblical interpretation with a speech titled “My Owner Manuel”. In this talk, Ben expressed the many ways that the Bible can be used as a guide for modern life. He made the example of a VW Owners Manuel comparing it to that of the Bible. Said Ben, “the point is that if I know my car well, I can service it correctly and it will not break down. I’ll know what oil to put in my Volkswagen, the right tire pressure and how to change a tire, even how to set the clock… the manual makes me an improved VW owner. The Bible, like an owner’s manual gives us many guides to serving God and living life better.” These five speeches were a true challenge for our evaluation team. For one thing, it would be a challenge to find improvements to be made. Rising to that challenge were evaluators Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Daniel), Zaq Perez (for Meg), Ken Blake DTM (for Nick), Renee Ellis (for Daphne) and Ken Walley DTM (for Ben). The evaluation team was so good they did not even need a General Evaluator but Jack covered all the bases. Our guests, Gretehen Mueller, Yashani Miller and Justin Rodriquez all were united in praise for the meeting! Each said they planned to return! Those who attended on this night were: Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Zaq Perez, Daniel Gutierrez, Troy Palmer DTM, Meg Given, Nick Toporkov, Daphne Hart ACB, ALB; Ben Rodriguez CC, Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Yashani Miller, Justin Rodriquez, Tahreek Duncan, Gretehen Mueller, Chi Simons ACS, ALB; Joey Jacobshagen, Ken Walley DTM, Ken Blake DTM, Renee Ellis, Linda Klein, Renee Ellis, Tea Tran and Steve Wood CC, CL. Although this meeting might have gone a bit overtime, everyone worked overtime to make it such an amazing success!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 April 20, 2017 “Money” theme meeting was worth a million bucks! Meg Given started out the meeting with quote from spiritual leader Eileen Caddy: “The secret of making something work in your lives is, first of all a deep desire to make it work: then the faith and belief that it will work: then to hold that clear definite vision in your consciousness and see it working our step by step, without one thought of doubt or disbelief.” Cashing in on his first experience as a Toastmaster was Ben Rodriguez CC who gave us some personal stories about having and not having money. Ben said that he now understood that there were benefits to growing up poor; learning the value of hard work and building a determination to rise above his circumstances. While not appreciating it at the time, he later learned these were often the keys to later success in life. Ben also seemed to truly enjoy his first time being Toastmaster. Diana Walley ATMG, CL was right on the money with her Table Topics questions. “Give us some financial Advice” was requested of Andy McGrane. Among the excellent advice that he gave was “Do not buy things you can not afford” and “Do not buy on the spur of the moment”. Detra Flood was asked “what can we learn about money from Donald Trump?” Detra admitted that President Trump is “tax savvy” by not looking at taxes as debt. “What is the most that you have ever spent for a meal?” was asked of Robert Bacchus. Robert told of when his Marine buddies in 2007 spent $3000.00 at bar while serving in Iraq. Although it was called into question if that could be classified as a “meal”. Ken Blake DTM was called for to name a charity that he would be happy to give money too. Ken said that the work that hospitals for handicapped children and burn victims through the Shriner organization made them an extremely worthy cause. Asked if she had ever been poor, Meg Given remembered having to rely on the help of others shortly after she had graduated from college. “Later I would appreciate that time but it was a very humbling place in my life” said Meg. Our guest Miriam Smith was asked where she would go with 3 weeks free and a million dollars to spend. She choose the beautiful island of Balli. Miriam said “I love to learn new about cultures and discover new ideas.” Daniel Gutierrez was asked what problems can being rich cause? He replied that the biggest problem is “knowing what to do with all of your money.” Nick Toporkov was given the choice of what to spend $1500.00 on: 1. a full sleeve tattoo, 2. a basic but semi-powerful telescope, 3. a set of custom pro golf clubs or 4. a kangaroo. Nick choose the telescope because he enjoys looking into the sky at night and although a kangaroo would be fun, it would be hard to take care of. The next Table Topics Question went to Brett Jones who told us that the best bargain he ever made was a $5 for a jump rope which has kept him in excellent health! Lastly, Julian Castano was asked “Who should be on the $1 bill?” His answer was two presidents: Donald Trump and Club #28 President Jack Wharton ACB, ALB! We had three great speeches starting with a very special speech by our newest member Tea Tran. Tea gave her Ice Breaker Speech titled “What Makes A Person A Person?” Tea, a professional photographer explained that her car had been broken into last week and her laptop was stolen. All of the images she had stored, all of the work she had done was lost! With the few remaining photos that she had and a power-point projector, Tea told her story. Her life, like the images she was projecting was an amazing selection of beauty and imagination. We learned that Tea loved to attend events and explore places. Travel and learning were important but not to take yourself too seriously and to remember to hold on to those close to you. “It is not what makes a person a person but it is what that person can become.” said Tea. Wonderful Ice Breaker! The second speaker, Renee Ellis gave a speech titled “Conquering Anxiety”. It was an essential talk on a challenge confronting most of us. She explained how she was plagued with worry and how at only 30 years old her high blood pressure and other factors caused the room “to start spinning”. She had to do something. She went on a 21 day challenge of meditation, stress awareness and listing those things that she was grateful for. By the end of 21 days things had become habit and her anxiety, stress and blodd pressure levels had all gone down! Great advice! Speaking last was Zaq Perez with a speech about personal responsibility titled “Modern Day Slaves”. Zaq told the story of a man named Chris who seemed to have it made but did not plan for the future. When disaster struck, Chris lost everything. He became a slave to his borrowing and credit card debt to try to save himself. “Debt is like a cheetah waiting for the gazelle.” said Zaq. But Chris was not to late to save himself by shifting his way of thinking. He came up with a plan to pay off the debt, doing without, learning to live cheaply… running at his debt instead of away from it. After time Chris recovered and lives a happier, less stressful life now. You would have to pay top dollar for the evaluation team’s wise planning tonight led by General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM. Ken was lucky to have the help of some brilliant advisers Latisha Simpson (for Tea), Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Livia) and Renee Ellis (for Zaq). I am sure that their speech investment management will pay off in helping their clients reach their communication goals. Also “taking it to the bank” was the Information Wealth Firm (IWF) of Grammarian Julian Castano, Timer Robert Bacchus, Photo Portfolio Planner Steven Wood CC, CL; Ah Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Daniel Gutierrez. Our two guests Miriam Smith and Brett Jones gave us million dollar compliments when they reviewed the meeting! One thing that money can’t buy is a first-class like this one. That make Club #28 pretty rich!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 April 13. 2017 “Long Distance Speech Marathon” meeting started with Sgt. At Arms Renee Ellis calling the meeting to order and giving an original thought for the day extemporaneously or as she said, “freestyle” . Said Renee: “Tonight we are not only here to learn, make friends and become better speakers but to refresh, renew and take a break from a hectic and busy world out there.” Not bad, Renee! As Club #28 President Jack Wharton ACB, ALB had been summoned out of town at the last minute, VP of Education Steve Wood CC, CL stepped up to take over as the ringmaster for a four-speech circus of entertainment! Following the tradition of new members giving their Ice Breaker speeches first, Steve introduced Tahreek Duncan to present his 1st speech, titled “Beauty in Death”. Tahreek explained that through a “death” of innocence, a new individual is born only to “die” again through experience, in a circle of growth and maturity. His first “death” was getting into trouble with the police as a youth, which he learned a great deal from… the hard way. Next, joining the Marines was an experience of intense suffering that created a new, wiser Tahreek but was not at all “where it was at.” Finally as he goes through life adjusting to often unjust challenges or as he put it, “killing myself so I can grow”; Tahreek has found the ability to “rid myself of the fear and find the heart of the maturity that lies within it.” Remarkable 1st speech Tahreek! Congratulations! Doing double duty as the second speaker, Steve Wood CC, CL delivered a fast paced educational speech titled “Micro-biology 101 in 5 to 7 Minutes”. He started with basic proteins. “To find a protein” explained Steve, “you just need a list of numbers stored in the DNA.” From there he covered genes, nucleotides, chromosomes, monomers and polypeptide, synthesization, amino acids, alloproteins, methane and the ch3 molecule… all in less than 7 minutes. By listening to this speech, you could not help but learn something… even if you are a hard core micro-biology buff. Speaking next was Ben Rodriguez CC a recent graduate of Bible College who presented “How to Interpret the Bible” . “Many people do not read the Bible because they are afraid too” said Ben, “they should not be afraid, often the Bible is merely symbolic.” Ben taught us that the Bible uses various communication devices to get across a message including symbolism, parables, allegory and storytelling. He explained that the Bible was a collection of different books written by many authors passed on over thousands of years. “The Bible is not one book… it is a library.” said Ben “and it can used as a marriage guide, financial resource, guide for how to deal with stress, everyday problems… it is a blueprint for living.” Our last speaker was Daphne Hart ACB, ALB who gave a speech from the Toastmasters International Better Speaker Series titled “Creating an Introduction”. Daphne covered so much helpful and essential information in this module that no Toastmaster after hearing her presentation could not claim to be unprepared to produce an effective introduction for any performance occasion. From background to assignment objective to topic and title… all were covered in detail. Best of all, Daphne made this informational speech fun and entertaining! These four speeches were given expert reviews by a team of evaluators led by first time General Evaluator Linda Klein. Excellent advice was passed forward from Chi Simons ACS, ALB (for Tahreek), Ken Blake DTM (for Steve), Andy McGrane (for Ben) and giving her first Club #28 evaluation Meg Given (for Daphne). Another group that had a lasting impact on this gathering was the Technical Traffic Technicians (TTT) consisting of first time timer Livia Petraru, Video Supplier Renee Ellis and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM. Announcements were made that Tea Tran and Daniel Gutierrez had become new members of the club! Welcome Daniel and Tea! Other guests Jerry Saint-Rome and Karla Mixon both pledged to join the club as well! At the end of the meeting Diana Walley ATMG, CL praised the meeting highly noting that we have the potential to induct seven new members (Livia, Tahreek, Meg, Daniel, Tea, Karla and Jerry) in just the past month! Diana exclaimed that “We must be doing something right.” We certainly are.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 April 6, 2017 “Fast Cars and Movie Trivia” theme meeting was a fast and furious race toward perfection. Ken Walley DTM started the meeting with a reading from the Hallmark Editions book “The Good Word” reading a chapter on Laughter. Quoted Ken, “Laughter even makes friends – laugh and the world laughs with us. As the French say ‘The most completely lost of all days is that on which one has not laughed!” Toastmaster Renee Ellis brought a lot of sheer entertainment to the meeting with behind the scenes stories and little known facts about such classic car movies as “Smokey and the Bandit” (the plot theme of bootlegging Coors beer is based in fact), “Fast and Furious” (they had to remove the roll bar from Vin Diesel‘s car so he could get inside it), “Speed” (Sandra Bullock had to actually learn to drive a bus to play her part) and the 1965 TV show “My Mother the Car” (“often thought of as the worst TV series ever produced”). Renee had many other amazing tidbits about fast car films! Another Toastmaster tearing up the road was Table Topic Master Jack Wharton ACB, ALB. Jack’s first question was for our newest Club #28 member Tahreek Duncan: “ What is your favorite movie?” Tahreek chose an airplane movie over a car film selecting the 2009 film “Up in the Air” staring George Clooney. He spoke how reality is different to a man who’s job it is to fire people… until that man’s job is being threatened as well. “Why do Americans love cars so much?” was offered to guest Meg Given. Meg masterfully summed up the major reasons for our love affair with cars, “Americans are extremely independent. In the past moving from public transportation to private transportation was a sign of wealth. Now it is also a sign of personal freedom.” She also told how taxi drivers in China like to show off their skill by reckless driving. Thank you Meg, for the warning! Jack next gave Steve Wood CC, CL the opportunity to speak about his most outrageous car stunt that he had ever seen in a movie. Steve instead spoke about his favorite car movie: “Terminator II” with “kick ass” robot cars. “The sooner we have robot cars the better! Texting drivers have gotten to be very dangerous.” Our guest Matthew Hewlett was asked what car he would own if he could have any car. He said that one car that he wouldn’t have is a PT Cruiser or, as Robert called it “an old lady” car. He admitted that people would raze him at stoplights saying “Hey buddy, did grandma let you borrow the car?” Diana Walley ATMG, CL was asked when was the fastest that she ever drove a car. She remembered when she was contacted at her job that her son was having seizures at school. She drove “like crazy”, hitting 80 mph to get to the school and then chasing down the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Fortunately, her son was alright. Another guest Karly Mixon was asked about her first car. She echoed Matthew’s views of the PT Cruiser, admitting that a Cruiser was her first. She said that the car “had issues” and that she was much more appreciative of what she was driving now. We had three awesome speakers giving their prepared presentations. The first speaker giving his 32nd speech was Robert Bacchus. He started his speech, titled “What Every Child Deserves” with the statement “I am an instrument of death!” He went on to explain that for 10 months of the year he trains Marines to prepare for war. However for the other two months, Robert is in charge of the Toys for Tots program to bring Christmas gifts to children who might not otherwise receive them. Robert gave a history of the program, including the story of how one Marine unit collected over 5000 toys to deliver to needy kids. After that, the order to collect toys spread to all stateside units, eventually serving over 230 million children! “Families should not have to make the choice of either to put a roof over their heads or having enough to eat against getting Christmas presents for their kids.” said Robert. “In cases where there is sickness, such as terminal cancer; we create a memory to be cherished forever. A toy equals hope.” For two months out of the year Robert trades his helmet in for a Santa cap. “Helping children is the mission.” The second speaker, Zaq Perez inspired us with a speech titled “The Ultimate Selfie”. He quoted Albert Pike to set the theme of his speech: “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” Zaq spoke about selflessness as a force of hope. “It is not self-serving to feel good about serving others without any expectation of reward… it is simply paying forward, giving favor to someone else.” Other benefits of selflessness that Zaq mentioned was providing a political shield, transcending boundaries, reaching others and rewarding the community. This a powerful message, perfect for these modern times. The last speaker tonight was Susan Storma CC, ALB speaking from the Storytelling Advanced Manuel with a brilliantly entertaining speech titled “Snakes!” Susan who admitted a terrifying fear of snakes, “I’m afraid of an earthworm because it looks too much like a snake.” said Susan. She gave us a hilarious overview of her acquaintances with snakes throughout her life and her husband’s apparent indifference to them. There was the “surprise snake in a box” that her husband showed that caused mayhem and panic. There was the “Snake n’ Toad” incident when Susan walked in upon a snake in the mist of a meal that left her with an indelible memory to treasure forever. Also the time she bravely overcame her fears to rescue a “blacksnake”, putting it in the hands of her husband to free it from the garage… later to see him hacking the mislabeled pygmy rattlesnake to pieces. Fun, funny and a bit scary.. this was a wonderfully entertaining performance! We had three world-speech reviews from our evaluators guided by the steady hand of General Evaluator Detra Flood. Doing the honors were Ben Rodriquez CC (for Robert), Julian Castano CC (for Zaq) and Ken Walley DTM (for Susan). Thanks also to the Fast Five (FF) who made this meeting a success: Grammarian Ken Blake DTM; Timer Latisha Simpson, View Finder Steve Wood CC, CL, Ah Counter Joey Jacobshagen and Vote Counter Tahreek Duncan. We also had many words of praise and encouragement from our guests Meg Given, Greg Bonser, Daniel Gutierrez, Zack Shelby, Matthew Hewitt, Clay Gibson, Karly Mixon, Jerry Saint-Rome and Thy (Tea) Tran. Meg became our newest member after the meeting! Welcome Meg! As we go down that “Two Lane Blacktop” on the “Cannonball Run” to success, we’ll be “Gone in 60 Seconds” or less, in our “Rush” to be the best. If this meeting was like a fast car movie then Club #28 is at the “Grand Prix” with “A Need for Speed”!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club March 30, 2017 “Speech Extravaganza” speech marathon meeting was a verbal fireworks festival that thrilled all who were lucky enough to be at the Herndon Branch Library! The speech spectacular started with Benjamin Rodriguez CC reading a burst of wisdom from TV icon Oprah Winfrey: “I have a lot of things to prove myself, one is that I can live my life fearlessly.” Before introducing the first speaker, Master of Ceremonies Jack Wharton ACB, ALB announced that Amy Sims CC had achieved her Competent Communicator Award! The room exploded into deafening applause and a standing ovation. Congratulations Amy! The first speaker of the evening was our newest member Livia Petraru who was giving her Ice Breaker speech titled “The American Dream”. She told us about growing up in Romania, dreaming about living in America while watching TV shows from the states. She felt so lucky when her dream came true as she was picked as a part of a student exchange program. Reality set in later when she found that hard work was also a part of the dream and being a “Subway sandwich artist” She also learned that people were not always as friendly as those she saw on American TV. Worse, she missed her family so far away. Yet Livia was determined to make a new life. She found meaning in volunteering and helping others. In 2016, Livia became a United States citizen. “I learned three lessons from coming to America. One, all that glitters is not gold. Two, you must pay a price for your dreams and Three… work through the trials because something better will be coming along. The second speaker Diana Walley ATMG, CL spoke on a subject dear to her heart with a speech titled “Romantic Love”. Diana spoke of how a romantic relationship develops from such statements as “I know we have just met but somehow I feel like I already know you.” and others such as “even though we have only been together a short time, it is hard to remember a time without you”; “When I am with you I no long feel alone, I feel complete” and “I love you so much, I do not think I could live without you.” To the delight of many in the room, Diana gave examples from her real-life husband, Ken. Speaking third was Detra Flood with a humorous/inspirational speech titled “This ‘L’ Stands for…” Wearing a big letter ‘L’ on her shirt, Detra told of the recent Club #28 International Speech contest and her feelings of not finishing in first place. Losing. Up to that point, almost every speech that she had given had earned her the “Best Speaker” ribbon, so it was a shock not to be taking home the trophy. Detra told us what she had learned from the experience. She had “allowed her nerves to steal the message” and that ‘L’ does not stand for “loser”. It stands for “Learning”, gaining freedom from her comfort zone, that ‘L’ is for “Leader”, to help her grow stronger from defeat and that ‘L” is for building a “Legacy”. In the end she noted that if you put some ‘Ls’ together you get a ‘W’! Speaking fourth was Renee Ellis with yet another dynamic speech about setting goals. She followed a formula for success based on the SMART acronym of keeping goals:

Specific (simple, sensible, significant).

Measurable (meaningful, motivating).

Achievable (agreed, attainable).

Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).

Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive). Renee admitted that she was often impatient to reach her goals. “Instant gratification takes too long!” she lamented, but “you change as a person while to go through the journey of reaching your goals. You are building character.” The finial speaker of the evening was a guest speaker, Steven Morgan ACS, ALB. Steve wanted to preform his winning Area Contest International Speech before he gave it at the Division level! His speech was simply titled “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” Using an incident that happened to him in the fifth grade when he was attacked by a teacher during class; Steven pondered the questions of anger and response. This powerful speech laid bare the many levels of emotions and how we react to unwarranted rage. “He is a wonderful teacher. What if I get him fired?” “I am I to blame?” “Should I speak up?” “Was his apology enough?” and many other questions seemed to hang unanswered, even for years afterward. Then a similar incident happened to Steven’s own son. He finally knew the true answers. This important speech will be hard to beat at Division, and beyond. These five speakers all gave dynamite performances! Club #28 was ready however with an all-star cast of evaluators led by General Evaluator Latisha Simpson. Each evaluator, Ken Walley DTM (for Livia), Daphne Hart ACB, ALB (for Diana), Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Detra), Scott Maloney ACB, CL (for Renee) and Benjamin Rodriguez CC (for Steven) excelled with pertinent advice and glowing reviews. A sparkling tribute should be paid to the Tremendous Tracking Three (TTT) who also made this meeting such a successful and colorful event: Timer Ken Blake DTM, Camera Extraordinaire Steve Wood CC, CL and Vote Counter Susan Storma CC, ALB. It should be noted that it was good to see the return of Julian Castano and Andy McGrane who have been away from the club for awhile. Our guests Mary Piercy, Alex Ceshauis, Daniel Gutierrez, Tahreek Duncan and Laura Restokop (sp?) all were unanimous in praise for the meeting. Tahreek even pledged to join. Welcome Tahtick! This meeting was a breathtaking display of talent, joy and fun! It was a bedazzling show of what imagination can do! Step right up to the most stupendous, most mesmerizing Toastmasters show on earth… Ladies and gentleman… Orlando Toastmasters Club #28!!!

The sky was the limit with the Orlando Toastmasters March 23, 2017 “New Possibilities” theme meeting! Benjamin Rodriguez CC started the meeting with a quote from H. Jackson Brown Jr. : “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.” Serving as Toastmaster for her first time was Renee Ellis. Renee asked us how we were doing on our New Years resolutions but reminded us that it is alright to make mistakes “because that means that we are trying and in the act of trying, we are learning.” Renee gave us some excellent ideas on how to create “new possibilities” such as “make a cake from scratch, take an ‘electronic break’ by sending someone a handwritten letter, by volunteering for a charity for a day, conversely by visiting another city on the spur of the moment without any plans, maybe trying yoga or ti-chi…’or anything new!’” Renee also suggested making a scrap book and taking an “archaeological dig” in your closet… along with any many other ideas. Having some wonderful ideas of her own was another “1st timer”; Table Topics Master Latisha Simpson. Latisha helped us to self-discover many new possibilities as well through her challenging proposals. A good example was her first question for Steve Wood CC, CL , “When was the last time you tried something new?” Steve, a health enthusiast, told about the self-education he received from his new “Fitbit”. He told us how we could gain “extra active walking minutes credit!” Jack Wharton ACS, ALB was asked to set out his goals for the month. He said he had intended to read 10,000 pages this year but after just getting married a couple of weeks ago, he has slowed down quite a bit. He also has plans for being a dynamic force of product improvement at work as well as putting together a financial plan for the future of his new family. Susan Storma CC, ALB when asked how much she had changed in the last 5 years, was pleased to say that she was a much claimer and happier person since she had started her own company. Returning guest, Tahreek Duncan spoke about what excites him in life. One of the things he liked was “being out in nature, photographing “a family of crocodiles out in the swamp!” Robert Bacchus replied to the query of “what opportunity he would like to pass on to other people.” Robert said “waking up with a purpose” and motivating others to give their best. Scott Maloney ACB, ALB was asked to relate to us a time when the “impossible became the possible.” He remembered being encouraged to serve as a Toastmasters Area Director by Division C Director Delona Ashby DTM. He found out that he was able to accomplish goals such as the Leadership Excellence project while making a difference in the community. Dr. Buchir Djehiche waxed philosophically about the topic “Do you see to believe or do you believe to see?” He mentioned that while one must accept the tangible, he told of how a man when told to look into the sun burned his eyes. Therefore, “as one can not look upon God, the concept of god, must be seen in “the mind’s eye.” Ken Walley DTM was asked by Latisha “If I could grant you a wondrous wish, what would it be?” Ken noted that Latisha was not a magic genie but that he would like to learn to have her “sunny personality and upbeat attitude about life.” At the end of the meeting Joey Jacobshagen was asked what new possibility he would like to gain from this year. He spoke about keeping a journal and reading more of the Bible. We had two exceptional speakers who did not disappoint. Steve Wood CC, CL going through the Basic Manual for the second time, gave a speech titled “A Major Flaw with Time Travel Movies”. Steve explained that ANY change that took place in the past would have immense repercussions on the future since, in essence, the time-continuum is completely connected. Steve also covered the concepts of “clockwork universe”, “quantum randomness”, “universe prediction models” and “the butterfly effect”. “Even an accidentally overturned rock on Mars” said Steve “could make everything completely out of context to a time traveler returning to Earth in what he would think would be a ‘normal’ present.” Speaking second was Susan Storma CC, ALB with a very different speech from the Advance Technical Manuel titled: “Rapid NIR Measurement of Oil and Protein Content and Analysis”. Susan used powerpoint to trace the rise of Soy protein’s popularity over sunflower oil after the 1990’s and the challenges of processing Soy due to a short season and complex lab analysis. To the rescue explained Susan came the” In-Lab NIR 521″ that can give instantaneous results in the field in only 6 seconds! Susan offered that “NIR Spectroscopy has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of dollars, with results that are extremely close to lab quality in only a fraction of the time.” Susan proclaimed that “no more will Soy crops just sit unprocessed while waiting for lab results!” These two speeches offered new possibilities for communication learning from our General Evaluator Detra Flood and her two able evaluators, dreamers and innovators: Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Steve) and Ken Walley DTM (for Susan). They encouraged their students to “shoot for the stars” in their oratory future. Also exploring infinite revolutionary prospects were the Impossible Possibles Assemble (IPA) made up of Grammarian Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Timer Zaq Perez, Photo Possible Joey Jacobshagen, AH Counter Robert Bacchus and Vote Counter Linda Klein. Our three guests, Tahreek Duncan, Meg Given and Livia Petraru were also enthusiastic about the new possibilities of becoming members of Club #28. Livia even joined after the meeting! Welcome Livia! After a tremendous meeting like this one, even in a world of new possibilities… where anything can happen; it is exciting to see what Club #28 will do in the future! Nothing seems beyond Club #28’s reach!

The March 26, 2017 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Speech-A-Rama” Speech Marathon extravaganza lived up to it’s hype and then some! Starting the meeting was Scott Maloney ACB, CL who quoted Yeshua from the book The Keys of Jeshua:

Beyond the human context, you will find that community extends forever throughout time and space. What you nourish now will be your future, your community, and the pathway for your own return sustenance and fulfillment. To this expanded view, you may add the many ‘communities’ within yourself. Each person is an integrated whole of many microcosms. How do you nurture your physical body, your heart, your mind, and emotions? There are patterns within you to be discovered and supported or evaluated and changed. Every choice you make is about community on some level, and the support in which you vest it is the basis for all you will ever have or create. Choose well.”

Taking the role of the oratory disc jockey was Steve Wood CC, CL who immediately introduced the first of two memorable Ice Breaker speeches! Robert Bacchus had an amazing story to tell titled “The Eighth Stand” . He started at the lowest point in his life. As a young marine, who had recently escaped from a tough youth in New York, Robert found himself hospitalized in danger of a major heart attack, brought on by drug and alcohol abuse. He told the story of his unsuccessful struggles to overcome these demons until his met his future wife who gave him the encouragement to finally reach sobriety. Now happily married to Jessica and with “two dogs and a hairless cat”, Robert has taken on a number of projects with the Marines including community organizing for local Toys- 4- Tots events. Most important to Robert is a program of helping other marines achieve sobriety. He ended his speech with a quote from Paul Coelho: “The secret in life is to fall seven times and get up eight times.” The second speech and second Ice Breaker, was by Alvaro Mejia. His presentation titled was simply titled “Alvaro”. Alvaro admitted that he prefers to be just called “Al” and that he “does not like talking about himself.” So in a brilliant twist, Al took on the persona of a character named “Will” to tell us about Al! We learned from “Will” that Al was married 13 years with 2 kids and although Al hated talking about himself he could talk about his “incredible wife for hours!” He also introduced us with a lot of pride to his two children; his very smart 6 year old son that can often outsmart his dad and his 2 year old daughter who “plays him like a violin.” We also found out that Alvera is an electronics guru, a compulsive student and a financial analysis. We would have known none of this however if it was not for “Will” telling us, as he pointed out “Where there is a ‘Will’ there is a way’”! Latisha Simpson gave a highly meaningful speech titled “Raising the Bar” that commented on the need for a return to the standards that have somehow been discarded over the years in America. Latisha lamented that “America has become the biggest High School in the world.” If we are to regain our past glory and honor in the eyes of the world, we must first find our own self-respect. Latisha noted that America has to stop being a “yes man to society” and hold each other accountable to improving our communities. “If there is no accountability, there is no responsibility.” She also implored us to communicate more in an effort to raise the support, and standards of our communities. “It is time” said Latisha to “put the phone down and help out!” Zaq Perez presented a speech “Law Abiding Scoundrels” that warned us of con-men posing as legitimate tax accountants. He pointed out that there are those less-than-honest tax preparation planners who scam lower income clients using the Earned Income Tax Credit to bilk them out of their much needed money. “They take advantage of those who are in the most need by offering them ‘rapid refund anticipation loans’” Zaq also noted they often “falsify tax returns right in front of the customer!” Zaq said that there is no shortage of responsible tax assistance available who will fairly do your returns, even at no cost for simple forms. Zaq warned that “these scoundrels must be stopped!” The final speech of the evening was a return to the lectern by Nick Toporkov who has been away from the club for a few months. His speech “Fallacies of Our Mind” toyed with the science of delusion as we as people deal with uncertainty. He noted that there is a “50% probability of anything happening” and that “randomness rules everything”. Nick ventured that we are in an endless loop of exercising control or at least the “perception of control” of defining illusion and reality. Using examples such as of the results of flipping a coin for 40 years and the records of hedge fund managers, he illuminated the “sharpshooter fallacy” which happens when differences in data are ignored, but similarities are stressed. Thus drawing from that reasoning, an inferred false conclusion. Said Nick of these fallacies, “knowledge starts with self-awareness.” One thing was for certain that the guidance team of experienced Toastmasters led by another of our missed members Betsy Carvajal CC who had returned to us to serve as the General Evaluator. Betsy introduced such respected teachers as Detra Flood (for Robert), Walk Jones DTM (for Alvaro), Christopher Fama ACS, ALB (for Latisha), Susan Storma ACB, CL (for Zaq) and Daphne Hart ACB, ALB (for Nick), who spread a wealth of knowledge to every speaker and listener in the room. The Support Troopers (ST) in this Speech-A-Rama helped make this a flawless event, thanks to Timer Ken Walley DTM, Photo Finisher Linda Klein and Vote Counter Amy Sims. A testament to this wonderful meeting was in the form of the glorious comments from our guests Michael Whittaker and Jessica Bacchus along with a welcome back to some members that we had not seen in a while: Nick Toporkov, Betsy Carvajal CC, Walk Jones DTM and Christopher Fama ACS, ALB! This speech marathon was yet another exceptional example of Club #28 excellent. At the end of this joyous celebration of leadership and communication skills was a victory for wisdom and personal growth.

The theme for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 March 9, 2017 meeting might have been “The Little Things” but the meeting sure was a gigantic success! After Sgt. At Arms Renee Ellis called the meeting to order, Detra Flood had the perfect thought to start such a meeting: “We are always surprised at the progress that comes from doing simple things well.” Emily Ceskavich did an amazing job as our Toastmaster. She reminded us that often it is the little things are the most important things of all. “The little things you must find,” said Emily, “for there you will discover the great joys in life!” She stressed that highly admired masterworks are  the product of people paying attention to the details. She also told us a story of how a public relations project, taking a pictures of the company mascot in different iconic places around Orlando; brought about an unexpected revitalization in the in her company, as well as pride in their city and in themselves. Diana Walley ATMG, CL came to the podium as the Table Topics Master and brought a lot of pride in Club #28’s ability to come up with fabulous answers to her questions! Her first question started with the song “A Few of My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” leading her to ask Zaq Perez what a few of his favorite things were. Zaq admitted that some of his favorite things were “food oriented” like “Meatballs and Pizza.” But he also took pride in his ability to set goals and met them consistently. Zaq mentioned working out and completing personal and professional projects. When asked the question by Diana “What big things came out of a little thing?” Eddy Cezalien CC weaved a tale of how Michael Jordan had to “kick it into another gear”on the basketball court just to barely eek out a one-on-one victory against him. “I had Michael very, very worried, knowing that his super-star reputation was in jeopardy.” The next question, for her husband Ken Walley DTM was “What was a little thing that had a big impact on your life?” Ken remembered casually agreeing to go to a church Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house. Ken would meet his future wife, Diana raise two kids and have his life changed in a myriad of ways. When asked what “Big thing really was a little thing” in his life, Scott Maloney ACB, CL reflected upon saving box tops as a child to send away for “A large vinyl bright yellow banana.” When it came in the mail and he blew it up, he found out that the banana was larger than he was! “Grandma! Look at my large banana!” Scott exclaimed. He soon realized it had amazing powers of static electricity that made him feared in his own home. The term “don’t sweat the small stuff” brought about a query for Susan Storma CC, CL : “what is ‘small stuff’ to you?” Susan told how a nursery service that was suppose to install a tree in her yard broke numerous promises and appointments, turning her into a “’Jekyll and Hyde’”! Susan was stunned because she was “never, ever like that” but also surprised that “it got results!” Dr. Buchir Djehiche was reminded by Diana of the phase “It’s a small world” and asked if he had an example of that. He told about how he had to come up with thousands of dollars in order to publish his book with a short deadline of only 48 hours. Within half that time, Buchir received a call from a friend “out of the blue” who helped to make his book publishing a reality! Buchir used the European Karelia Proverb: “Mountains cannot meet… but men can meet!” The last question was for Detra Flood was “Is it good to be detail oriented?” Detra said that in business you have to be detailed oriented. You have to know what the client wants and have the correct resources available in order to meet their needs. Often, Detra stressed “the difference between success and failure is in the details.” We had three speakers who paid attention to the little things to present three excellent speeches. Joey Jacobshagen gave his third speech titled “Four reasons Why People Don’t Like Math”. Joey laid out the premise that most students are turned off at an early age by the current scholastic testing format.  Joey observed that“Teachers are focusing on how to make the student pass the standardized tests rather that presenting math as understandable or even helpful.”  Another reason he gave was a “right brain/left brain issue” with math that is rarely approached. Teachers are often assuming that all students have the same desire to want to learn math. He pointed out that students are “turned off by what they don’t like” and that no effort is made to make math comprehensible or interesting. Finally, Joey offered that math was no longer something students viewed as relevant in “real life.” Joey offered that “We should bring back more practical applications such as how to use math to balance a check book or pay bills.” The second speaker, Linda Klein gave a fascinating speech titled “We Are Twins!” Linda told us what it is like to be an identical twin! Linda who’s identical twin sister Paula or as she called her, “her womb-mate” was born 8 minutes before her. “To some people they said they could not tell us apart and others said we didn’t look that alike at all.” She told how they switched places in class now and then… and got away with it! Switching places on a date however did not go as well, especially when the boyfriend would ask a question only the right twin would know! Later in life being identical twins paid off when Linda’s son donated a kidney to Paula’s daughter. It was a perfect match. Linda also noted, “I no long freak out when a perfect stranger comes up and gives me a big hug.” says Linda. “I merely explain that I am not Paula!” The third speaker Steve Wood CC, CL working on a second CC award, gave a second speech titled “Where is the Cure of Cancer?” Steve gave evidence that the “war on cancer” declared by President Richard Nixon in the 60’s has been a dismal failure. He reasoned that this failure might have come about in part by a conspiracy of greed by privately run medical corporations. Steve pointed out that it was not in the best interest of the pharmaceutical industry to have a cure for cancer which might result in the loss of billions of dollars and that massively profitable medical corporate entities would be at risk of losing future research grants. He pointed out that there might be a “simple, cheap, patient-able cure” for cancer out there but these possible remedies are quickly “labeled as ‘quack cures’ by the established medical community and the FDA. These well thought out speeches were given equally contemplative  appraisals by the Evaluation team led by General Evaluator Latisha Simpson. She introduced Daphne Hart ACB, ALB (for Joey), Chi Simons ACB, ALB (for Linda) and Ken Blake DTM (for Steve) each of whom delivered helpful guidance. The Little Things Highlighters (LTH) also played a big role in the meeting thanks to Grammarian Zaq Perez, AH Counter Susan Storma CC, CL; Timer Detra Flood, Photo-moto Renee Ellis and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM. Our guests, Patrick Fisher, Livia Petraru, Thy (Tea) Tran, Tahreek Duncan and Mohammed Mellak all had very big things to say about our “little things” meeting. All of them promised to return! This meeting was no “little thing” it was another example of how successful a Club #28 meeting can be!

THE 2017 CLUB #28 INTERNATIONAL SPEECH AND TABLE TOPIC CONTESTS

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Ken Blake (with Area Director Hasheem Francis) wins International Speech Contest!

A festive anticipation and a giddy joy dominated the air on March 2nd, 2017 at the Herndon Branch Library for the start of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contests. The most awaited club event of the year, celebrated throughout Central Florida; drew highly esteemed Toastmasters dignitaries and very welcomed guests in large numbers. They packed the room, squeezing in tightly while members scrambled to find more chairs. Then with the loud smack of the gavel Sgt. At Arms Renee Ellis called the meeting to order amid the raucous sound of thundering applause. When the calamity died down, Emily Ceskavich reminded us of what drives our contests framing it in a quote from Howard Cosell : “The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.” If there was a true “star” of this special night, that accolade would best befall Contest Master Zaq Perez. Zaq, a relatively new Toastmaster, bravely took on his complex and intricate duties as Master of Ceremonies with a charismatic flair and a professional competence that would have been worthy of any International Director. So smoothly did he orchestrate the proceedings that the contests ran ahead of schedule and the entertainment level was unanimously praised as “off the charts” from beginning to end. The first contest, the Table Topics Contest was soon underway as the most honored Chief Contest Judge Jack Wharton ACB, ALB dramatically intoned “Let the Contest Begin!” The question which all of the contestants would grapple with was “What does the world need more of or less of?” Verbal warriors Daphne Hart, ABC, CL; Latisha Simpson, Ken Walley DTM and Ken Blake DTM all answered this question in very different ways but still with a positive and upbeat theme. Some of the recurring ideas of what the world needs more of were centered upon love, unity, communications, family, trust, empathy, inclusion, and a belief in the ability to accomplish our dreams. Those things our contestants remarked that we need less of in the world today were often mentioned as division, hate, delusion, fear, inequality, prejudgment and low self-esteem both as individuals and as the human race. These moving, heartfelt answers all left an emotional impact upon our audience as did their constant adulation and cheering for the speakers. In order to provide revitalization for the next contest, a short intermission was declared.

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Table Topics and International Speech Contestants: Daphne Hart, Diana Walley, Ken Walley, Ken Blake, Detra Flood and Latisha Simpson

The International Speech Contest is revered by all Toastmasters as the “holy grail” of oratory excellence, an example for others in the club to learn from and a challenge to the speakers to find a new standard for themselves. On this exceptional evening, we had four speeches that played with our hopes, dreams and feelings moving us and inspiring everyone. One such speech was from the first speaker Diana Walley ATMG, CL. She offered of herself a very personal story, in her speech titled “How I Overcame Child Sexual Abuse”. Diana related how she and her brother had been abused by a stepfather as a young girl and her frustration at not being able to protect her younger sister as well. She told the harrowing story of a neighborhood child molester who took advantage of her son many years later that galvanized her to contact lawmakers to change the laws in the State of Florida and intact the Child Sexual Predator Act. She did not stop there, forming her own child abuse organization to help other victims deal with this seldom talked about but more prevalent that known horror. “I know I will never truly heal from my abuse but helping others gave me a new hope for the future. “ said Diana. Our second speaker, Detra Flood gave a reprise of her speech titled “Where’s Waldo?” Detra actually came dressed like the whimsical hard-to-find puzzle book character! The message of her speech however was anything but whimsical, it was an important call for social inclusiveness in literature for children. Detra pointed out that “Seeing other cultures in what children are reading often teaches kids about diversity. Detra actually gave us a “child’s-eye view” from her own daughter’s perspective on learning about another cultures from a character she was reading about in a child’s book. Children feel a part of the story and a part of society in general.” She also noted that being included socially in books and other media, helps a child’s self-esteem and development. This was an important message that has long been overlooked in the established literary/publishing industry. Ken Blake DTM gave his classic “Lessons From Pretty Boy” speech that has delighted audiences that have had the pleasure of seeing this masterful storyteller perform. The speech which tells the tale of his father’s beloved but escaped parakeet and Ken’s family’s effort to replace it with a double. This of course led to many varied and hilarious results. This performance also had some very meaningful lessons about deception and forgiveness. Due to one of our contestants having to withdraw from the competition at the last moment, Ken Walley DTM volunteered to enter the oratory fray. Ken decided to give a new and original speech on a subject that he does not like to speak about and has remained mostly silent on during his entire life. Titled simply “Asperger’s”, Ken told about his struggles with Asperger’s disorder an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. Ken painted a picture of what it is like to be in a super-highly focused world the efforts of others to help him attempt to understand and overcome his every-day challenges. “Each person with Asperger’s is different. Often very different. Personality plays a major role. Asperger’s is believed to be a mild form of autism, and my Asperger’s is a mild form of Asperger’s but it does not seem “mild” to me.” With these four speeches, Club #28 set such a high standard it was widely debated if the judges would even be able to decide on a winner. Of course the duty of the judges, no matter how much they would like to send all of the contestants on to the Area Contest, was to pick winners. One thing is for certain was that the Contest Technical Support Staff (CTSS) were ALL winners! While the judges were out, Contest Master Jac recognized those helped make these contests new Club #28 legends: Timers Robert Bacchus and Emily Ceskavich, Vote Counters Linda Klein and Susan Storma CC, CL as well as Chief Judge Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; Lensman and Vice President of Education Steve Wood CC, CL; Sgt. At Arms Renee Ellis and of course, the Contest Master Jaq Perez.

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Chief Judge Jack Wharton, Timers Robert Bacchus and Emily Ceskavich; Vote Counters Susan Storma and Linda Klein; SAA Renee Ellis and Contest Master Jaq Perez in front.

Once the judges had returned with the verdict, Club #28 was honored to have Area 30 Director Hasheem Francis CC, CL to help hand out the beautiful trophies. In the Table Topics Contest Ken Walley DTM came in second place and the winner was Daphne Hart ACB, CL! In the International speech Contest again Ken Walley DTM came in 2nd place and (drum roll please…) the winner was Ken Blake DTM! It would hard to find two more able and deserving Toastmaster to represent Club #28 at the Area 30 Contest. The yearly phenomenon that is the Club #28 International Speech and Table Topics Contests may be over for 2017 but the many wonderful memories will last far longer than a year. These contests will be cherished for a long time to come.

hat the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 February 23, 2017 “Games” theme meeting was as much fun as a game of Red Rover or Grand Theft Auto or strip poker… or any game for that matter. Benjamin Rodriguez CC quoted another Benjamin, Benjamin Disraeli for the thought of the day as “Action may not always bring happiness but there is no happiness without action.” A man who is a true “gamer” taking on the role of Toastmaster at the last moment, Jack Wharton ACB, ALB told us of some of his favorite games which include Gin Rummy, Frisbee golf, Bridge, Monopoly and two other lesser known board games, “Rail Barron” and “Settlers of Catan”… Jack’s favorites. Another game that Toastmasters like to play is Table Topics and Table Topics Master Steve Wood CC, CL was ready to put the ball in play with some challenging questions. Remembering how he would play Monopoly by cutting the out bank and using calculators to create a kind of “slush fund” when playing with his sister; Steve asked Latisha Simpson what her favorite “non computer game” was. Latisha said she loved the game “Taboo” as it “always teaches teamwork.” She admitted however that she was also once addicted to the computer game Candy Crush. Steve speculated that sending people to Mars would involve a rather boring trip and he wondered what game Linda Klein would take to Mars with her. Linda said that it would be “Croquet.” She would like to see if the ball would float, how far it would go and what new rules you would need to make up because of the thin atmosphere. Noting that Chess is not accurately portrayed in the movies. “It is only until the last surprise move that the winner yells ‘Checkmate!’” said Steve. He wondered what annoying things in the movies drove Eddy Cezalien CC crazy. Eddy instead wanted to talk about his favorite game, Jenga. He liked the combination of skill and strategy it took to play the game. Guest Caesar Gadell was asked that if he found out that he was actually “living in a computer simulation”, what would he think? Caesar said that he would not like it at all! “I could be uploaded and downloaded and I would not be original!” Robert Bacchus was asked to “create his own question”. He said that the was “big on video games” as it actually started him on the path to his present career as a technical support engineer in the military! At the end of the meeting Alvaro Majin spoke about his favorite game of Mindcraft which he plays with his kids, always taking on the role of “zombie” and always losing… joyfully. Dr. Bachir Djehiche spoke about playing soccer and becoming badly injured and Diana Walley ATMG,CL spoke about a game called “Kwizniac” in which you have 20 questions to guess what you are talking about. Our three speakers made their presentations all look like fun and games but they put a lot of hard work into them. Our first speaker Emily Ceskavich gave her Ice Breaker speech titled “ My Greatest Fear (and why I want to keep it)” . She learned that her fear of interpersonal communication in the first grade would later make her competitive and “hyper-aware of others.” Which was not always a bad thing, especially later on in a grown up world. She joined Toastmasters to challenge herself to find meaningful and rewarding communications with others. Speaking second was Renee Ellis who gave a very funny speech “New Car Pony Smell” which told the story of 1.) her father’s brand new 1977 station-wagon with 2.) that new car smell and plastic covers over the seats to protect them on a long journey and 3.) a pony the size of a big dog that could fit in the station-wagon but was not “car-trained”. Said Renee, “The new car smell was violated and the drive just got a lot longer.” The last speaker Susan Storma CC, CL, speaking from the Advanced Storytelling Manual told the classic tale of “The Three Pigs”. It should be noted that she told the extended version of the tale, in which it is the wolf who get eaten in the end! This was wonderful fun. All of these delightful speeches were reviewed by three excellent evaluators under the direction of General Evaluator Detra Flood. Evaluators Ken Walley DTM (for Emily), Chi Simons (for Renee) and Ken Blake DTM (for Susan) were all extremely enthusiastic about the high quality of the presentations! The Club Gaming Commission (CGC) also posted some high scores for our speakers thanks to first time Grammarian Zaq Perez, Ah Counter Robert Bacchus, Timer Robyn Lesser CC, Video Games-man Steve Wood CC, CL and Vote Counter Eddy Cezalien CC. Our guests Caesar Gadell, Taba Shannon and Stephen Wenzel all were happy about how this meeting played out. In the game of Toastmasters, everyone in Club #28 comes out a winner!

Here is an odd fact: The February 16, 2017 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Odd Facts” theme meeting was one of the best Toastmasters meeting ever produced by any club since October 22, 1924! To start the meeting, Joey Jacobshaven quoted St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.” An odd fact about St. Teresa is that the city she was born in, Skopje, Albania; was still a part of the Ottoman empire when she was born! Odd facts like those came quickly throughout the meeting by our Toastmaster Latisha Simpson. For example did you know that “At any given time 18.000 lightening strikes are hitting the Earth” or that “slugs have four noses” and that the “Speaker of the House in England is not allowed to speak”? Among some of the other tidbits from Latisha were: “the correct term for a pregnant goldfish is a ‘twit’”, “there are 118 ridges on a dime” and “The original color of Coca-Cola was green.” Bringing some strange trivia of her own was Table Topics Master Renee Ellis. Noting that there is 9,000 year old chewing gum on record, she asked Detra Flood “what is the oldest thing you own?” Detra replied that she could not think of any one thing off the top of her head but that her mother has always been in her life and has brought her “joy and laughter.” Another odd fact is that the average person has over 1,400 dreams in a year. Renee asked Lily Phuong Tang what was a “dream of hers”. Lily said it was to help “young people to lead successful lives.” Another wish of Lily’s was to “always be able to use what I have learned.” Diana Walley ATMG, CL spoke about the difference between and optimist and a pessimist saying a pessimist falling off a cliff would scream, while an “optimist would say ‘So far, so good!’” Noting that some animals have only one mate for life including penguins, wolves and eagles Renee asked Joey Jacobshagen “what is worth waiting for in life?” He responded that the right person to fall in love with and to be happy with” would be a good answer. Educating us that baby robins eat 14 feet of earth worms every day or so, Renee wondered what sustained Eddy Cezalien CC, CL what sustained him. Eddy spoke highly of traditional Haitian food especially rice and black beans. Our guest, Gabriella Battistiol was asked about something that she had found out about herself in school. Gabby said that she had “rediscovered herself” in college and learned that she wanted to seek communication career opportunities. This epiphany led her to becoming a general manager of a radio station. Steve Wood CC, CL when being confronted about the odd fact that the microwave oven was discovered when a chocolate bar melted in a scientist’s pocket, spoke about things “by accident”. When told that the chance was better of you being killed on the way to buying a lottery ticket than actually winning the lottery, new member Robert Bacchus said that he would rather take a chance on “building himself up, look for new opportunities and growing leadership skills in Toastmasters. The odd fact that 40$ in overdue library fines led to the creation of the billion dollar business Netflix another guest, Molita Lee was asked what does it take to inspire others. She spoke about being able to be creative, to helping others and to finding the “treasure” in our youth. We had three brilliant speech, each one special and unique starting with an Ice Breaker by Vincent Duong Son. Started out his speech titled “All about Me” with a provocative question “What is my race?” After a few shaky inquiries Vincent proclaimed himself “American!” Vincent, born in Pensacola, Florida spoke about his childhood which was often focused on sports, especially volleyball. He currently attends Valencia State College and is hopeful for a future in computer engineering and animation. His goal is to earn $60,000 a year by the time he is 25. He hopes that any future success will enable him to follow the command of his namesake St. Vincent de Paul to help others, especially the poor. Ken Blake DTM spoke second with a revised speech he has given many time here at #28 and else where in preparation for the upcoming International speech contest. “Bertha” is the story of a industrial air compressor that Ken used in his auto repair shop. During the speech he speaks as if “Bertha” is a living, abet, super-human employee of his (“She worked all day, never taking a break. Never demanding Overtime!”). In the end, we’ are told that she was “sold on e-bay” and replaced with “Bubba”! The last speaker with a manual speech, Walk Jones DTM paid tribute to the libraries of the world with a speech titled “The Library”. Walk delivered a fascinating tour of some of the great libraries both large and small that he has visited. His also traced the past from the first historically mentioned library 25,000 BC year ago all the way up to our present time even telling the story of the Orange County Library system This was a real treat. Another odd fact was that the evaluators for our three speakers has totaled over 15 years in Toastmasters. Helping to channel this wealth of knowledge to our speakers was 1st time General Evaluator Emily Ceskavich. Our thanks to Walk Jones DTM (for Vincent), Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (for Ken B.) and Daphne Hart (for Walk) who all gave excellent speech follow-ups. The Oddly Accurate Fact Checks (OAFC) also turned in exceptional reports from Grammarian Detra Flood, First time Timer Zaq Perez, Insta-print Modulator Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Eddy Cezalien CC, CL. Our guests Gabriella “Gabby” Battistiol, Molita Lee and Moseline Mefrius were unanimous in their praise of the meeting. This brings me to another odd fact, The Orlando Toastmaster club #28, founded in 1933, which includes Franklin D. Roosevelt as an honorary member and is the Oldest Club East of the Rockies… just had it best meeting ever!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 February 9, 2017 Speech Marathon meeting had a theme: “Finish on time!”… which we did. The meeting got off to a fast start with an invocation by Alphaeus Flood who echoed the words of David Farrgut: “Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!” Our host the newly married and returning club President Jack Wharton ACB, ALB; introduced our Fast Functionary Force (FFF) consisting of first time Timer Julian Castano, Video Master Steve Wood CC, CL and Vote Counter Renee Ellis. Jack kept them busy introducing our speakers at a good clip starting with Speaker #1 Lily Phuong Tang. Lily is just starting her race to her CC with her Ice Breaker Speech titled “I Am Lily Phuong Tang”. Lily told a story of a unique and global life that started in China and took her to Viet-Nam, the Philippines and finally to the United States. During her journeys, she was required to learn languages quickly and yet was able to earn high grades in school and become an honor student. Today, she helps young people in need to succeed and says that each year is an opportunity to “add another present” given to her by life. The second speaker Dr. Bachir Djehiche was also giving his Ice Breaker speech, titled “My Success Journey”. After a slow start in life (“I hardly moved for my first 7 days and my parents were worried that I might be dead!”) Bachir at 13 decided that he was going to write a book. It was a few years before this came to pass after he graduated in Islamic studies in England, later earning a PhD. In the meantime however, he worked as a shepherd, enjoyed hunting and had a “best friend; my big red dog”. Bachir also had a dream of “earning a million dollars.” This led him to America where he arrived just after 9/11 and felt a heavy tension in the air. He was soon able to attain his green card and is now a professor at the Act Academy in Orlando. Our third speaker Linda Kline gave another wonderful speech titled “50% Anticipation and 50% Participation” which was about the beauty of snow. While taking a vacation in a city up north, Linda stumbled upon remarkably beautiful window displays that captured the fairy-tale appearance of winter. She showed us pictures of a dream world after the snow had fallen with white lined streets and soft-layered snow-covered trees. She described in detail this winter wonderland. In the end however the reality of life came when with some pictures of what happens to all of that snow once it reaches the ground and turns black and brown as the street cleaners move in! The fourth speaker in our marathon was Detra Flood who gave a super-human speech titled “Gifts are Like Super Heroes!” Detra told of her journey to climb the mountain of success only to be challenged by evil-doers such as “Captain Selfish A-lot” and “The Phobia of Doom!” Fortunately, “The Guardian of the Guided Light” came to her rescue with the advice of “keep your eyes on the gift”, then, arming her with Storytelling, Laughter and a love of writing. When she reached the top of the mountain she used these to create a gift: her first book! “Find the gift of the super-hero inside of you!” Detra proclaimed! Speaking last was Chi Simons ACB, ALB. Her speech titled “I Hear Voices” told the story of when Chi gave a stranded Toastmaster a ride home one night only to find that when Chi got home the toastmaster had forgotten her cell phone in her car. Bringing it inside of her house, Chi accidentally took a picture of herself naked. Yes, accidentally and yes, naked. Then the phone locked her out and… a very funny story. In the end, the toastmaster got her phone back and Chi’s picture did not go viral. These five speeches all were International Speech contest worthy… even the Ice Breakers! Faced with having to evaluate these brilliant orations were the staff of esteemed evaluators under the guidance of Master Evaluator Zaq Perez. Evaluators Jack Wharton (for Lily), Ken Walley DTM (for Bachir), Benjamin Rodriguez CC (for Linda), Scott Maloney ACB, CL (for Detra) and Daphne Hart CC, ALB (for Chi) all rose to the occasion with excellent reviews. At the finish line of our meeting our guests Scott Maloney ACB, ALB; Tichannia (“TC”) Towns, Sonya P. Wagy, Alan Barbera, James MacNiel, Ella Glasgon and Francisco Campos all were unanimous in their praise of the meeting. Those present at the meeting were Lily Phuong Tang, Bachir Djehiche, Linda Klein, Detra Flood, Chi Simons ACB, ALB; Tichannin (“TC”) Towns, Sonya P. Wagy, Alan Barbera, James MacNeil, Ella Glasgon, Ken Blake DTM, Renee Ellis, Julian Castano, Steve Wood CC, CL; Ken Walley DTM, Robert Bacchus, Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Daphne Hart CC, ALB; Francisco Campos, Scott Maloney ACB, CL; Benjamin Rodriguez CC, Jaq Perez and Jack Wharton ACB, ALB. The entire Club won a Gold medal for this marathon!

If you could think of the perfect Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting, the February 2, 2017 “If” theme meeting would be it! Ben Rodriguez CC started the meeting off on an inspirational note with a quote from Dale Carnegie: “Remember that happiness does not depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think.” Toastmaster Ken Walley DTM explained that the inter-lapping space between the “two worlds of ‘WHAT’ and ‘IF’” was made up of “endless possibilities.” He gave two examples of “what if” scenario:. Ken’s interpretation of what if Abraham Lincoln had sneezed when John Wilkes Booth  pulled the trigger, leaving Lincoln alive was followed by “What if Stephen Douglas had defeated Lincoln?” Throughout the meeting, Ken also asked “What if questions” such as “What if humans were twice as intelligent?”, “What if all the cats in the world suddenly died?” and “What if the Neanderthals had not gone extinct?” Coming prepared with some more “If” questions was Table Topics Master Diana Walley ATMG, CL. Diana introduced us to the book “If2” by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell, a book of 500 “if questions” from the “game of life”. Her first selection was “If you had to pick one thing that always makes you smile, what would it be?” Ken Blake DTM said that each morning he was kissed by his wife… and his little puppy Princess. But not necessarily in that order. “If you could be like any celebrity, who do you think is most like you? Our newest member Dr. Buchir Djehiche responded with a tribute to Tony Robbins. Bachir, himself a “Certified Success Coach and Trainer”, said that he was inspired by Robbins. “He taught that whenever you can program your mind, you can control your habits and your attitudes.” The next question was “If you had to pick a favorite ‘I told you so’ from your past, what would it be?” Emily Ceskavich could not come up with a single occasion but suggested that when she was 16 she may have been able to have had one more available. Andy McGrane was asked that if he could have the vocabulary of any one person, who would it be? He answered that it would be his mother who always watched his grammar when he was a child. “I never realized until I became an adult, how much that would help me in later life.” If you could drink only one alcoholic drink for the rest of your life, what would it be?” was asked of guest Ivan Possamai. He said that he did not drink alcohol and if he had only one drink for the rest of his life it would be “water.” Good choice. We had three speeches which were all very different from each other starting with a very special speech by Zaq Perez, his Ice Breaker titled “What Brought Me To Toastmasters”. Zaq told how he had set his sights on being a star in the world of accounting. He was passionate about the field and wanted to be surrounded by those who could led him to success. Unfortunately he did not find that leadership as he was starting off in his new career. The lack of inspiration and leadership in his profession brought him to the conclusion that he must seek it elsewhere, from outside the world of accounting, such as with Toastmasters and from inward, to become the leader that he never found in his field. The second speaker, Bren Bedford gave a powerful speech titled “How Can I Help?” about the subject of pet adoption and rescue. Starting with the heartbreaking story of a dog named Shadow that brought to light the desperate need for pet shelters to find help in solving a tremendous pet overcrowding situation. Bren explained what we can do as a part of the much needed community support. This was an important plea for help and action. The third speaker Steve Wood CC, CL in a second “Ice Breaker” speech titled “Can You Learn From Other People’s Mistakes?” The main subject of the speech dealt with how Steve discovered that sugar was slowly causing a breakdown to his body. “Sugar is a low-dose poison that take decades to kill you.” said Steve. He later was able to overcome his dependence on sugar. What if these three speakers were given excellent advice and some very positive encouragement by a team of dedicated evaluators? We found out the answer to that question thanks to General Evaluator Andy McGrane. Andy introduced three brilliant evaluators, Susan Storma CC, ALB, (for Zaq) Ken Blake DTM (for Bren) and Detra Flood (for Steve) who all came through with solid advice and lots of approval. What if we also had a team of dedicated reporters for this meeting? We would have been privileged to hear from the “Incredible Functionaries” (IF) made up of Grammarian Francis Obiozor, AH Counter Ben Rodriguez CC, Timer Emily Ceskavich, and Vote Counter Daphne Hart CC, ALB. Our guests Richard Strub, Rich Swim, Toufik Boukemaya, Katia Meneghetli, Ivan Possamai, Reeyer Adames and Yousif Addadef all had high praise for the meeting. It was also announced that Richard and Dr. Bachir Djehiche have joined our club! Welcome! What if everything came together to make the perfect meeting? Well, that’s to be expected with Club #28.

I can not remember a meeting as good as the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 January 26, 2017 “Deja-vu” meeting. But it seems like I’ve been here before. Benjamin Rodriguez CC started the meeting with a message from the bible quoting Jesus of Nazareth: “Let not your heart be troubled.” Our first time Toastmaster Latisha Simpson spoke about what triggers deja-vu, such as being on the internet, visiting a place you might have been and dreams. She said she thought that she once had a dream and then was amazed to see parts of the dream unfold in front of her in real life. Latisha also told us of a store in Winter Park that was “looking for repeat customers” named “Deja-vu”! Chi Simons ACB, ALB returned as our Table Topics Master with some strangely familiar questions about deja-vu. Her first question was for Walk Jones DTM: “Do you have a favorite place to go?” Walk said that he had been many places but one place that always bring him joy is to find himself in front of the statue of Mickey and Walt Disney in the Magic Kingdom knowing he is going to have a day of fun and adventure. “What is a wonderful adventure would you like to experience again?” Francis Obiozor wished he could experience the exuberance and revelation of passing his professional engineering license exam. He said that he walked around for an hour in a daze, intermittently screaming “YES!” Soon to be new member Julian Castano was asked what kind of deja-vu would he like to re-live. He said that moving to Orlando and getting established, meeting new friends and building a new life was something he would not mind doing again. Julian said it was a “fantastic learning experience.” When asked what kind of food brings back good memories? Benjamin Rodriguez CC explained that his family struggled when he was a child and he was told to eat everything on his plate. “Now I will eat whatever you put in front of me. If you don’t finish it, I will!” Diana Walley ATMG, CL was asked what experience she will remember about food. She explained that she was in a picket line for her husband’s union when it was announced that the contract had been settled. To celebrate, they went across the street to a Japanese steak house and had an amazing feast. We had three wonderful speakers starting with Joey Jacobshaven‘s second speech titled “How People Drive Bad & What We Can Do About It.” Joey covered strange lane changes, 16 year old drivers, weaving motorcyclists, speeders and tailgaters. Joey even had a question and answer period in which he lobbied for more driver’s education and following the official driver’s manuals as remedies. He strongly recommend a “two feet” cushion for tailgaters. Speaking second was Renee Ellis who admitted as a young girl that she had a doll fixation in her speech titled “Get High on Barbie”. She admitted to having a “Barbie addiction”. She showed us Skipper and Barbie and how to brush their hair. She had longed for the camper set, dune buggy and, of course the Barbie dream house. Renee wondered what she had done wrong when Santa brought her cousin one instead of her. We also learned that Barbie was a good example to girls, having been featured in over 150 professions. Renee even admitted that when she goes into a toy store, going down the ‘pink isle’ with her niece and she still has “a little Barbie addiction.” Speaking third was Susan Storma CC, ALB with a speech from the “Technical Presentations Manual” titled “The Wonderful World of Spectroscopy”. Making a highly complex topic interesting and educational, Susan covered light absorbency, color measurement, fluorescence, iridescence and reflection. She told us how our perception to the light spectrum has massive implications in nutritional diet, medical applications and occupational and life quality. Although technical in nature, Susan’s speech brought about an awareness of the important field of Spectroscopy. Our three evaluators echoed the excellence of our speakers under the guidance of General Evaluator Amy Sims. The speech reviews of Monique Smith-Trager CC (for Joey), Detra Flood (for Renee) and Ken Walley DTM (for Susan) all reflected upon the brilliance of our speakers. The “Been There, Seen That Reporters” (BTSTR) each delivered helpful reports thanks to Grammarian Benjamin Rodriguez CC, Timer Ken Blake DTM, Remembrance Re-caller Steve Wood CC, CL; AH Counter Zaq Perez and Vote Counter Francis Obiozer. Our Guests Tiffiany Williams, Ayan Boyd, Justin Bray, Julian Castano, Buchir Djehiche, Manny Costello and Raphael Garcia, were all very supportive of the meeting and the club! Julian and Buchir both announced they were joining the club! Welcome! Every time I think of this meeting, it just gets better than before. Like all of the Club #28 meetings… it must be Deja-vu!

The home to the finest Toastmasters in the world hosted the January 19, 2017 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Home is Where the Heart Is” the meeting. Latisha Simpson quoted former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield to start the meeting: “ It is not the size of the man but the size of his heart that matters.” Acting President Steve Wood CC, CL introduced Emily Ceskavich who stepped up as our Toastmaster for her first time and delivered a wonderful meeting. Emily gave us example of people who found a “home” among the love and compassion of others, including a story of a young man evicted from his home only to find acceptance from his English teacher. The student was able to overcome his homelessness and succeed beyond his circumstances by finding a “home” at school. Bringing our extemporaneous speaking skills home was Table Topics Master Detra Flood. Detra’s first question was for her husband “What aroma reminds you of your childhood home?” It must have been the smell of pizza, chips and beer because all Alphaeus Flood wanted to talk about was the 34-31 Green Bay Packers victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Division playoff game. “The Cowboys suck!” Alphaeus declared while lauding the highly superior play of Packer’s quarterback Aaron Rogers. Our second TT speaker, Debbie Vick stayed more at home with her answer to the question “What was your favorite activity growing up?” Debbie remembered “running around the neighborhood.” Now she enjoys going on walks and seeing what is going on around her house. Lily Phuong Tang was asked to give us a message that “fills her heart with joy”. She quoted St. John Paul II who said: “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” Lily said that kindness, charity and good we can start today. Lily observed that “Some places feel like home because the people there make it feel that way.” Guest Steve Wenzel was asked about which TV shows reminded him of his home that he grew up in. Steve spoke fondly of two shows: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Full House”. He admitted that now that he “mostly watches football.” Zaq Perez said that while growing up his favorite place in the house was “in front of the TV” unless his grandmother was cooking, then it was at the dinning room table. “What is your favorite snack that makes you feel at home?” was the question Detra presented to Monique Smith CC. Monique admitted that she was a failure as a vegan and that she had “fallen from grace to re-discover bacon.” She confessed that “Bacon goes well with breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is also be enjoyed anywhere, even in a Bloody Mary!” The last question was to another one of our guests, Robert Bacchus. “What places to you have felt like home?’ Robert spoke about serving in the military and that he had move around a lot. He said that he often found comfort being in a big city, even if he lived in a “shoe-box apartment.” Club #28 had two speakers this evening starting with Diana Walley ATMG, CL who spoke about selling homes in her speech “How To Be A Professional Consultant”. Diana spoke about what is required to be a realtor and gave advice on how to be successful. “Know the people that help you through the mortgage process, have a plan for your buyer, the lender, the seller and title company. Plan each step ahead of time. Each house, seller, buyer… all will be different.” Speaking second was Daphne Hart CC, ALB conducted a tutorial from the “Special Occasion Speaker Advanced Manuel”on how to give advice titled “Coaching”. Daphine not only guided us in the different aspects, as well as the differences between teaching and coaching; she gave us an example using a role-playing session between herself and Latisha Simpson. Daphne also held a brief question and answer discussion at the end of her mini-seminar. These were excellent speeches and the evaluation part of the meeting led by first time General Evaluator Latisha Simpson, also exceed expectations. Departing wisdom and lot of confidence-building helpful advice were Ken Walley DTM (for Diana) and Susan Storma CC, ALB (for Daphne). The Home of Heartfelt Guidance Assembly (HOHGA) brought treasures of joy in there reports by Grammarian Alphaeus Flood, Timer Francis Obiozor, Family Portrait Professional Steve Wood CC, CL, AH Counter Ben Rodriguez CC and Vote Counter Renee Ellis. We had a number of guests including some who “ returned home” from visiting us before. They were Robert Bacchus, Steve Wenzel, Julian Castano and Alvaro Majin. Club #28 always feels like a home to our members because we are a safe haven of fellowship and learning. It is truly a second home to us. You could say that “Club #28 is where the heart is.”

If “what is the best meeting you have ever attended?” comes up in a job interview, the correct answer would be: “The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 January 12, 2017 “Interview Questions” theme meeting! The meeting started with a quote by H. Jackson Brown read by toastmaster Renee Ellis “Nothing important was ever achieved without someone taking a chance.” Steve Wood CC, CL served as the Toastmaster and provided some interview tips as well as some challenging questions that one might encounter to test your listening and deduction skills. One question dealt with the boy- to- girl birth ratio in China, another was about adding and subtracting red and blue balls. Many of us would probably not have be hired but it was a lot of fun trying to figure out the answers. We had a first-time Table Topics Master, Jaq Perez who did such a wonderful job that he might have just won the job of Table Topics Master permanently! Jaq’s first question was for Alphaeus Flood, a question you might be asked on an interview: “What animal would you be if you were any animal on the Earth?” Alphaeus answered “A lion! King of the beasts!” although his statement that he was “aggressive”, that he would “take down all of the other animals” and “make up his own rules”… might hurt his job chances. Emily Ceskavich was asked what “color of crayon” she would be, said that she would be a “rainbow color” so that you would not “need the rest of the box!” Returning visitor and Toastmaster Jerry Fitzgerald DTM who was asked who he would share a dinner with if he could invite anyone, dead or alive from history. Jerry listed, the Apostle Paul (“I have many questions to ask him”), Joseph Stalin (“to find out how a man becomes a monster”), his father (to ask him “where he went wrong” with Jerry) and his wife of over 50 years who has past way as “she was there for so many dinners”. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB was asked who her role model was. Kara did not hesitate to name her father Harold Newcomb, “a strong and fearless man. A good man, who lived what he preached.” Said Kara, “I always wanted to be like him.” Francis Obiozor spoke about what “super power” he would like to have. He mentioned that there are so many super powers that it would hard to choose just one. Andy McGrane when given a chance to name his favorite quote chose “The Prayer of St. Francis”:

“Lord make me an instrument of peace. When there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. When there is doubt, faith. When there is despair, hope. When there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.”

All of them were excellent answers! Susan Storma CC, ALB was our first of two speakers with her assignment from the Advanced Communications Technical Presentations Manuel tiled “Business Processes”. Susan took us through the often complex and baffling labyrinth of business processes from conception to product… in this case an interactive voice reception program. She showed how by using documentation of the operation, it was possible to improve and streamline the process. Susan even followed with a question and answer period on creating a process document. The next speaker was Detra Flood with a speech titled “My Vision: A Foreign Soap Opera” who spoke about using her personal “vision” as a motivating force in her life. By taking a abstract concept and making it concrete, she appealed to her audience to improve from within despite worldly distractions. These two brilliant speeches both got evaluations worthy of the hard work and preparation of the speakers. This was in large part thanks to first time Club #28 General Evaluator Amy Sims. Besides introducing first-time evaluator Renee Ellis (for Susan) and Ken Walley DTM (for Detra), Amy gave a 1st class meeting evaluation. The Linguistic Consultation Staff (LIS) of Grammarian Emily Ceskavich, Timer Bren Bedford, Picture Discourse Coordinator Zaq Perez, AH Counter Alphaeus Flood and Vote Counter Francis Obiozor. At the end of the meeting those Club #28 members who did not get a chance to speak, Linda Klein, Joey Jacobshagen, Daphine Hart ACB, ALB; Ken Blake DTM and Latisha Simpson. All gave their individual impressions of being Toastmasters for our guests Joseph Burns Jr., Christine Palma, R.J. Bakarania ACG, ALB and Alvaro Majin. The club member’s testimonials and the guest answers were all positive and amazing! If this was an interview for the best Toastmasters meeting ever… Club #28 would have been hired on the spot!

2017 got off to a glorious start for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 with the first meeting of the new year on January 5, 2017 which perfectly themed “New Beginnings”. The endearing and eloquent Renee Ellis, our newly appointed Sergeant-at-Arms, called the meeting to order for her first time and also led us in the thought for the day, a call to remember that this is a time for renewal and hope. Jack Wharton ACB, ALB Club #28’s newly appointed President welcome our many guests and wished all a happy new year before introducing Detra Flood as our Toastmaster. During Detra’s first time as the meeting hostess, she told of personal stories of new beginnings, including a hopeful and thankful start as “a civilian wife after years of being a military wife” and claiming 2017 as her year of “Resourcefulness and Redemption”. She explained to be her “chosen mantra for the new year.” Proving here mantra correct, Detra also presided over the new member induction of Emily Ceskavich, Zaq Perez, Latisha Simpson and Lily Phuong Tang! Another first for Detra!

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Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM vowed to bring the “joy back to extemporaneous speaking” with fun questions for Table Topics. His first question to Lily Phuong Tang was “Give us some reasons for setting goals.” Lily said that one of her goals was to create a non-profit organization to support young people and raise over a million dollars for the cause! Milena DeVincenzo a returning guest was offered “What would you like to learn more about in 2017?” Milena spoke about educating herself in “bio-hacking” or as she explained “discovering what the human body can do in conjunction to mechanics.” Diana Walley ATMG, CL spoke about getting closer to family and “mending fences” for 2017 when she asked what her New Year resolutions were. Chi Simons ACB, ALB told us about how the New Year is celebrated in Viet Nam, complete with multi-house firecracker displays. Susan Storma CC, CL spoke about being optimistic about 2017. “We have to deal with it on an individual basis. In order to survive the year, we must try to be happy.” Latisha Simpson spoke about the things that stand in our way of reaching our goals such as not having enough time and not believing in our own abilities. Linda Klein explained the phrase “every ending is a new beginning”. She used a number of perfect examples starting with “Giving birth is an ending of the pregnancy but the beginning of a new life.” Monique Smith-Trager CC spoke about wanting to start a new business. This “begins with creating a plan. Just [wishing] is not enough, you have to take an organized and practical look at your goals.” At the end of the meeting Zaq Perez spoke about some health habits that he wants to embrace in the immediate future so that he can “do the things he wants to do, to engage life more and feel better!” Speaking of new beginnings, our new Club #28 President Jack Wharton ACB, ALB gave his Inaugural Address. Delayed one week due to his wedding preparations, his fiancee, Nicole Hwa was on hand to hear Jack speak about his vision for the club. President Wharton spoke with sincerity and passion about a Toastmasters club that he obviously cares a lot about. He thanked his new team of officers for their commitment to making this Toastmasters term a success. Jack promised to reach all 10 President’s Distinguished goals, produce fun, interesting and exciting meetings. He also spoke about the need to put more focus on the leadership aspect of our club program. Most of all he was highly optimistic about our future, not only for the next six months but for years to come. Our second speaker Robyn Lesser speaking from The Entertaining Speaker Advanced Manual gave a insightful and moving speech titled “What I Know Now” about the lessons that she learned raising her two children. Her two children taught her that they “will succeed on their own time line.” Robyn told us that often children will succeed beyond expectations if given the space, and faith in their own abilities to do so. A son with disabilities turned out later to help others face his same challenges; a daughter who rejected school, later became a honored scholar. She found out that often the parents impatience and insistence upon what they want for their kids, are actually working against them. Said Robyn “Parents can be the ruination of our children! Step back! In there own time, they will get to where they want to be.” Theses two speeches were given the nurturing and care of our evaluation team headed by General Evaluator Monique Smith-Trager CC. Evaluators Ken Blake DTM (for Jack) and Christopher Fama ACS, ALB (for Robyn) both delivered on excellent advice to our speakers Also starting out the year with colorful verbal fireworks were the New Year Report Revilers (NYRR) who were popping the champagne corks and giving wonderful reports thanks to Grammarian Renee Ellis, Timer Latisha Simpson, Video Big Apple Dropper Steve Wood CC, CL and Vote Counter Emily Ceskavich. Our guests Pamela McColloch, Bachir Ojhiche, Alvaro Mejin, Midita Lee, Milena DeVincenzo and Nicole Hwa all started out the new year on a truly positive note with wonderful comments about our first 2017 meeting! If our first meeting is any indication, this is going to be our best year ever!