Photo by: LB Times
LRC and LB Toastmasters Club showcase the power of words in speech contest

To showcase the power of words, the UPLB Learning Resource Center (LRC) and the Los Baños Toastmasters Club (LBTMC) hosted the 2024 Area K2 Speech Contest on March 2, 2024 at Seoulmates, Calamba City, Laguna.

Area K2 is one of the six areas in Division K (Region IV-A) – District 75 (Philippines) of the non-profit educational organization Toastmasters International. Toastmasters (TM) from around the world regularly gather in club meetings and contests to improve their public speaking and leadership skills through constructive feedback.

Twelve qualifiers from the LBTMC, IRRI Toastmasters Club, and ams Asia Inc. Toastmasters Club demonstrated the contest theme, “The Power of Words: Speak, Inspire, Empower!” in categories such as international speech, humorous speech, table topics, and evaluation speech.

Sheryl Hermosa-Ebron, vice president for education at LBTMC and university extension associate at LRC, welcomed the contestants, club members, and guests with a reminder of the transformative potential of words. “Let’s use them to shape, inspire, heal, and uplift. Together, may our words become beacons of wisdom, inspiration, and empowerment.”

Hermosa-Ebron won first place in the international speech category, which allows Toastmasters to compete in public speaking and content development. In her “Keep Going” speech, she shared how she relied on her family, friends, faith, and LBTMC members to keep going through life’s twists and turns.

LBTMC President Lester Avan Andrada elicited laughter from the audience as he recounted a recent emergency he had to overcome, winning first place with his humorous speech “Better Safe than Sorry.”

Andrada also won the table topics round, a long-standing Toastmasters tradition in which contestants answer an impromptu question or topic. He encouraged the audience to fail and admit their mistakes to enjoy the sweetness of success.

Kate Palma-de Jesus, LBTMC vice president for membership and associate professor at the UPLB Department of Humanities, won the speech evaluation contest by providing a thorough review of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Rafiq Ahmed’s speech.

The speech competition concluded with closing remarks from DTM Robbie Jean Lorenzo, chief judge and program quality director of Division K.

The Area K2 winners then competed at the Division K Speech Conference at De La Salle University – Dasmariñas, Cavite, on March 23, 2024. Hermosa-Ebron and Andrada again won the international and humorous speech categories, defeating five representatives fielded by other areas in Division K.

Along with Ahmed, who won both the table topics and speech evaluation contests for Area K6, they will compete against regional representatives at the District Run-offs on April 6, 2024, in Ortigas, Pasig City.

LRC forged a partnership with LBTMC and Area K2 last year to conduct activities such as the speech contest to promote public speaking skills and personal development among UPLB students and community members.

They previously collaborated on the “Ready, Set, SPEAK!: Gearing Up for Speech Contests Like a Pro” seminar-workshop series in January 2024 to help LBTMC members and aspiring public speakers prepare for the speech contests.

They also hold regular “S.P.E.A.K: Mastering the Art of Public Speaking” sessions every first and third Monday of the month at the LRC Office, UPLB Student Union Building. Interested individuals may sign up here for such learning opportunities to improve their public speaking and communication skills. (Jennina Marie Mora)

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