Proud to be an American

On June 2, 2015, the Triple S Toastmasters Club’s second meeting club found itself between the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays and as such the Toastmaster for the evening, Catherine Clifford (Burgoyne Sales) chose Proud to be an American as the theme. After the Pledge of Allegiance, club President John Zalepka proved that even with a few years of Toastmasters under his belt, “um” and “ahs” can still sneak up on you, apparently in droves, so sayeth Mr. Ah Counter, Jim Diverio.

It was hard to believe that it was Catherine Clifford’s first time leading a Toastmasters meeting as she came out with a very strong stage-presence. You couldn’t help but to hear her and take note of her words, especially when she bribed us by offering prizes if we really paid attention to her (brilliant Catherine, brilliant!) If we didn’t know what the official colors of the American flag (Old Glory Red, Old Glory Blue & White, ehh BH?) are or that New Jersey is home to the world’s highest roller coaster, we do now, after 20 fun facts about America that Catherine sprinkled into her Educational Program.

Lexicologist (and our club’s inspirational leader) David Augello gave us what seemed to be a softball of a word with INDEPENDENCE, but if I’m not mistaken, NEFARIOUS from our last meeting was actually used more. Diana Rosario is well on her way to writing a book of the greatest inspirational quotes ever compiled as Quote Master and Steve Harms broke some ribs with his American wit… I haven’t laughed so hard at a “Bill” joke since Clinton was in office.

Once again our speakers were excellent, as we had another full plate of the fun, getting-to-know-you Ice Breaker speeches. June 2 2015 - First TimersFirst up was Ash Sawant, who gave us a little insight into what makes her tick. From her dislike of Thomas Edison to her middle child syndrome to her Weapon of Mass Destruction, we were served up A Little bit of Ash. Next was STI’s Utility Player, Brian Hengstenberger who broke down what makes for a great team player, that ball-picker-upper-when-dropped-by-someone-else mentality. Dave Volker then took us out back to the Shed where he put a linguistical beat-down on us. Dave took us on a journey to his, and subconsciously our own childhood(s)… good enough for BEST SPEAKER June 2 2015 Dave Volker Best Speakeron the evening. The last speaker for the night was Chris Cuevas, who valiantly stepped up as a speaker at the 11th hour with his speech Stress & Tension Management. This in spite of the fact that he has been managing a lot of stress & tension in his personal life recently. Sometimes simply speaking the words to friends can help you to manage a stressful situation, and I believe that is the case here with Chris sharing his stories with his Toastmasters friends.

Corey “Chase” Chess was up after the break with a plethora of Table Topics Questions as Table Topics Master… and yes, plethora does mean 5:

  1. Dave Augello responded with a very “fast” speech about Usain Bolt winning the gold medal as his favorite Olympic memory.
  2. David Vail gave a very descriptive recount of the opening scene of his favorite patriotic movie, Saving Private Ryan.
  3. John Zalepka talked of his friendship with fellow Toastmaster & Gold Star Mother, Eileen Daly and her family’s loss of their fallen, hero son, Army Sgt. Ronald Kubik… http://thefallen.militarytimes.com/army-sgt-ronald-a-kubik/4598880
  4. Ash Sawant checked us in at the “snowless”, Hotel So. California (Marriott)… you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave!
  5. Diana Rosario (BEST TABLE TOPICS SPEAKER) June 2 2015 - Diana Rosario - Best Table Topicstold us her story of September 11, 2001… and how Gabe DiMarino purchased a TV for the office so everyone could see what was happening… how STI let everyone go home early… and then the sense of pride (in the middle of a very scary moment for the country) she felt seeing the American flag waving on a Route 287 overpass while driving home… Wow Diana! Very powerful stuff!

Brian Murphy took the reins next and led us through, what I thought was a most excellent evaluation program. First up was John June 2 2015 - John Z Best EvaluatorZalepka evaluating Ash Sawant’s speech, earning him the BEST EVALUATOR award. David Augello did a fine job evaluating STI’s Beach (goer) Brian Hengstenberger. George Gornick was mesmerized by the descriptive verbal beat-down that Dave Volker gave us out back in the Shed and so Brian Murphy quickly jumped back in turning it over to Karen Reiser who did a very nice job giving Chris feedback for his next speech. Karen also served as the Grammarian and along with Jim D and Diana Rosario (Timer) rounded out the evaluation team.

Catherine then closed the program with a fun and interactive “listening contest” won by Brian Hengstenberger.

Overall another fantastic meeting!
Overall it was another fantastic meeting!

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