Local Toastmasters win, advance to division contests

The Sequim and Port Angeles Toastmasters Clubs boast a pair of area contest first-place finishers and division qualifiers: Terry Barrett of the Sequim club in the Evaluation Contest, and former Sequim mayor Bill Thomas of the Port Angeles club in the International Speech Contest.

Barrett and Thomas will each face three other area winners on April 12 in the Division Contest — a division made up of about 255 Toastmasters from 16 clubs, from Gig Harbor to Port Angeles — to determine who advances to a District Contest held in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 28.

“I’ve been surprised and thrilled to be a winner,” said Barrett, a first-year competitor who works at Sequim High School and is working on completing her teaching certificate.

“My studies have fed my interest in social-emotional development,” Barrett said. “I’ve found the art of giving a good evaluation to have a lot of cross-over. It isn’t just what you say, it’s how you say it, and when.”

In contrast, Thomas is a contest veteran. He has been to the international semifinal level of Toastmasters contests twice — the last time in 1999.

“The Port Angeles Toastmasters Club is one of the oldest existing clubs in the country,” said Thomas, a 35-year member. “It was chartered in 1949. I’m celebrating the club’s 70th anniversary by being the oldest contestant.”

Thomas said the Toastmasters membership was “a boon in my personal and professional life,” helping him become a business trainer and consultant along with skills to serve as mayor of Sequim.

“If only my 83-year-old body could keep up with my 25-year-old mind!” Thomas said. “I use a stool while delivering my speech because of my spine’s condition, but I’m not letting my age stop me. Toastmasters has something to offer everyone, age not with-standing.”

The next stop for Thomas and Barrett is the Division B Contest, set for 6-9 p.m. Friday, April 12, at the Bainbridge Island Fire Department (Station 21, 8895 N. Madison Ave. NE. The public is invited to cheer for the local competitors. Admission is free.

Skwim Toastmasters and Port Angeles Toastmasters are part of Toastmasters International, a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that “empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.”

The Sequim club meets 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday at The Gathering Place in Sunland, 135 Fairway Drive. For more information about the club, visit 907529.toastmaster sclubs.org. The Port Angeles club meets 7-8:30 p.m. each Monday at the Clallam Transit offices, 830 W. Lauridsen Blvd. For more information, visit 25.toastmaster sclubs.org.

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