Division L Evaluation and International Speech Contests

Friday March 21, 2014
Bishop Tonos High School, Ancaster, ON

Carol was there first, as expected, scoping out the venue. My daughter Reilly and I came along next.
We changed the chairs a bit and then started bringing in the food, supplies, and beverages.
The Evaluation Chair was in next and started to set up shop. Pretty soon we were awash in people arriving. There was a very nice buzz as people met and greeted.

The contest Sergeant At Arms, Mary Helwig-Hall, is a sometime school teacher and her outside voice was much practiced. I think everyone in the room reverted back to being in primary school and did exactly what they were told to do, when they were told to do it.
And down to business we went. Carol Todd-Skuce gave her welcomes, introduced Carolyn Hoxie who gave her welcomes, and introduced Tony, who rounded out the dignitary introductions.

Tim Bartol, the Contest Chair introduced Glen Abbey’s Reema Duggal as Chief Judge. Reema was her usual clear, succinct, and precise self. The contestants were warmed up and we were ready to go.

Assad Kamal from Grand River Toastmasters was the test speaker and he delivered an interesting take on compartmentalizing one’s life to manage it better. He was wearing a lot of bling on his fingers so it was no surprise to find that he designed and fabricated jewelry. Very nice stuff, glad the wife wasn’t there and Reilly has no interest in that kind of thing. Show her a first edition, first state, original copy of the Wizard of Oz and I’m in serious financial trouble. I digress as usual.

The contestants were Cody Novak (#51 – Brant), Frédérique Herel (#52 – Mighty Oaks), Robert Hurst (#54 – Brock talkers), Justin O’Donnell (#57 – Just Advanced), Bill Brodie (#56 – Burlington Advanced, and Rick Lundy (#55 – Honey Moon City).
The winners were; Rick Lundy 1st, Robert Hurst 2nd, and Bill Brodie 3rd. I was a contest functionary on this one and therefore have no comments on the judging.

The International Speech Contest was started after a 10 minute break. Mary Helwig-Hall called us back to order and the Contest Chair Connor Novak welcomed everyone and introduced the Chief Judge Orest Nahacziwec, who read the rules.

The contestants were: John Demarco #54 – Access; Tony Corrie #52 – Glen Abbey; Gary Ford #56 – Mansion; Wayne Buchowski #57 – Garden City; Don Robertson #53 – Stoney Creek; Derek McGrattan #51 – Brant; and Joanne Gray #55 – Rose City in Welland.

It was an interesting competition with a wide variety of styles and topics. John was inspirationally sad as his topic was concerning a challenged individual that he worked with. Tony’s speech was entitled The F word, and it was a great hook. It wasn’t until the end of the introduction that you knew he was talking about forgiveness. It was a very inspiring speech as it gave many examples for us to try to consider our actions and move towards a more conciliatory approach. Tony was conversational as was everyone else but Derek. His speech was about being angry enough to decide to make a change. He had a very dynamic range of vocal variety but he was worked up to an angry state most of the time. It was a great performance.

Gary Ford used a lot of word play about being outside of the box and living in a box. His speech was about thinking and acting to better yourself. It could have qualified as a Humorous Speech. His vocal variety was masterful.
And the winners were: Gary 1st, Derek 2nd, and Tony 3rd. I had no qualms about the judging here.

There were closing remarks and the contest was closed only about 10 minutes over schedule, which was very well done.
It was another very good contest by Division L and most likely our last one in L as next year we could be in Division B. For more commentary on that I suggest you read Peter’s most recent blogs.

~Donald Knowles, Area 52 Governor

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