Scribes Report, 10th June, 2024 by Christina Hession

President, Sarah Smith, welcomed members especially our much loved member, Beth Davis-Reinhold from the United States and three guests to our 6th birthday celebrations.

Sarah handed the reins over to Toastmaster, Mary Kilbane, who introduced the role holders for the meeting. Diane Fitzpatrick who was Grammarian, introduced the word of the evening ‘derivative’ and provided a comprehensive account of its meaning and usage. Gwen Frazer was the Ah Counter, challenging us to monitor our use of the dreaded crutch words for the meeting.

Chris Collins explained his role as timer with funky new lights. Rob Partridge meanwhile enthralled us with the prospect of his Creative Corner, ‘Brad Pitt or Lasers’ and promised there would be prizes for the winner and loser.

Christina Hession was Topicsmaster and posed birthday themed topics covering your worst birthday present, which celebrities you would invite to your party, should ’roundy’ birthdays be banned, your worst birthday experience and ageing gracefully. We learned that Martin Foran’s worst birthday present were ‘Snooze-Anne’ Vega tickets for a concert at Christchurch Cathedral, that his wife wanted to go to. Sarah Smith had never come across the term ’roundy birthday’ and instead of a much anticipated engagement ring, she got a hands-free car kit for her 30th birthday. Chris Collins’ attempts to become a master forger were thwarted by an eagle-eyed pub security man. Rob Partridge told us he was ‘a fine wine, not vinegar.’

Our first prepared speech of the evening was by Beth Davis-Reinhold, who delivered a tongue-in-cheek speech about ‘The High Cost of Toastmasters.’ Beth reminisced about a pre-Toastmasters life when things were ‘quiet and boring’ and she was ‘afraid of everything.’ Now, she successfully challenges a Traffic Court Judge, is a confident instructor at job search classes and can negotiate being lost alone in an unfamiliar city at night. ‘No good deed goes unpunished,’ she remarked.

Martin Foran delivered the second prepared speech titled ‘Learning from the Extremes – One Year On.’ He engaged us about a two year project Kilcooley National School participated in – ‘Schools as the Learning Hubs of the Rural Community,’ an EU funded project. Martin told us about how the pupils and local community benefitted from the project which provided the school with new technology.

Rob Partridge evaluated Beth’s speech which was not a Pathways project. He praised her perfect pacing and synchronised hand gestures. While, he acknowledged that Beth usually delivered speeches online, Rob suggested using the speaking area to greater effect.

Chris Collins evaluated Martin Foran’s speech. He set out the speech project criteria, which Martin met. Chris praised him for a very engaging and seamless presentation which utilised slides effectively. He commented that it was difficult to hear Martin at times, so encouraged him to project his voice more in the future.

Grammarian, Diane Fitzpatrick, reported that ‘derivative’ was used seven times throughout the night. She also commented on nice turns of phrase used throughout the evening. Gwen Frazer had in her own words, ‘the dreaded job of Ah Counter.’ She provided members with a breakdown of their use of crutch words and noted that more experienced speakers pause to circumvent them.

Rob Partridge held a very enjoyable, interactive Creative Corner, called ‘Brad Pitt or lasers’? Members had to guess ‘who came first’. Gwen Frazer and guest Micheál were the last two standing, with the latter winning the game.

General Evaluator, Sarah Smith, praised the evaluators for their comprehensive, well prepared evaluations of the prepared speeches. She noted that she would like to have had used the word of the night ‘derivative’ more, adding that it was sometimes used inappropriately. Sarah paid tribute to Gwen Frazer for her nicely delivered Ah Counter’s report and her learnings from doing the role. She complimented Christina Hession for her birthday themed topics and to guest Micheál for contributing an add-on. Sarah Smith thanked Mary Kilbane for her excellent job as Toastmaster, despite the technical challenges of managing a meeting online.

In a lovely moment, Beth and Rob signed ‘Happy Birthday’ in ISL and ASL. Club founder, Martin Foran said, “We started with an empty room and didn’t know who would be there. Six years later, we’re still learning in a safe environment. Our mission is to practice the skills we learn here, in our day to day lives. I’m very proud of what we have built. Happy birthday East Galway Speakers.” Our next meeting is on Monday 24th June, in the Loughrea Family Resource Centre, at 8pm with a Mid-Summer theme.