On March 9, WUSTL Speaks member John Richards competed in the Area 12 Evaluation and International Speech contest. First-place winners from the Area contest move onto the Division contest (after which winners can continue on to compete at the district level and beyond). John had previously won the club-level contest, and he gave a well-received rendition of his talk entitled “The Friendliest Serial Killer.” After delivering his “killer” speech, John was awarded second place.
Washington University had great representation at the contest: a large group of WUSTL Speaks members came to the contest to cheer on John; immediate past president Jackie Lorrainne was present as a ballot counter; and a group of Toast of Wu members came to support Rebecca Jordan who participated in the evaluation contest and won second place. Before the contest, members from WUSTL Speaks gathered at nearby restaurant Mai Lee to enjoy dinner together. About his first contest experience, John said, “ I am happy I participated even if I didn’t make first. Just getting practice in a contest environment is very helpful. I did a lot of practice but found I wasn’t quite prepared for the nerves of being on the spot. I definitely hope to compete in the future and build upon the accumulated knowledge. I would have been a huge mess if it wasn’t for the incredible amount of people who came out to support me. Their encouragement before and after the contest really helped my mental state so much. I was thinking about how wonderful Toastmasters is in that I feel I have such a safe place to fail and still know that everyone will encourage and help me learn from it. I really feel that WUSTL Speaks has a unique spot in Toastmasters clubs where it is both professional development but also a family-like atmosphere of personal encouragement. “ John may have won the second place contest trophy, but he’s a first-place champion to the rest of the WUSTL Speaks club members. Way to go, John!