By Christine Link

For the Sentinel

During the school year, Holy Rosary Homeschool students of grades 7-12 met monthly to participate in the Toastmasters Youth Communication and Leadership Program.

Under the guidance of Emma Steen, president of Daylighters Toastmasters Club in Beaverton, students met to develop speaking, thinking and listening skills. The Toastmasters program aims to build communication, leadership and organization. Students are required to conduct and organize meetings, prepare speeches and introduce speakers. Developed and sponsored by Toastmasters International, this program gives students the chance to deliver a prepared speech before an audience, evaluate peers' speeches and practice impromptu speech-making.

'This program gives youth the opportunity to get up in front of their peers and adults and learn to speak with grace, poise and discernment,' says Marlu Newvine, a parent of one of the students. 'I've watched this particular group go from making their first anxious speeches to giving moving and polished speeches that show a maturity beyond the speakers' age. I have truly been impressed with their progress.'

The students of Toastmasters participated in chairmanship exercises. At the first meeting last September, students elected officers to be president, vice-president, secretary, and sergeant-at-arms. The duty of the president, with the assistance of the vice-president, was to run the meetings smoothly, using a prepared agenda. The secretary took minutes and wrote thank-you notes to guest speakers, and the sergeant-at-arms made sure the room was orderly and clean before and after the meetings.

Officers for September through December were Vanessa Brink, Heather Kilian, Elizabeth Young,and Christine Link. Officers who served January through May officers were Nicole Kluthe, Kaitlyn Kilian, Katie Milton and Peter Wolf.

The topics of the prepared speeches included families, hobbies, current issues and moral issues. Heather Kilian gave the students a new outlook on dating and courtship. Heather's sister, Kaitlyn, reminded pupils of their duty to fight for the unborn. Christine Link reported on the dangers of gambling. Yume Delegato reminded the students of their Catholic duty to evangelize.

In her demonstration, Katie Milton showed the class how to paint eggs in Ukrainian style. A new saint, Edith Stein, was introduced to the students thanks to Cecilia Freiling, and her brother Thomas introduced them to the electric car.

Impromptu topics dealt with favorite feast days, advantages of homeschooling, chivalry, the value of suffering and moral issues. Dennis Hall gave an impromptu speech about the freedoms of speech and religion.

A few Toastmaster students participated in two speech tournaments. At Cathedral School last December, Yume Delegato spoke against abortion and Christine Link spoke about Broadway musicals.

At Valley Catholic, the site of the second tournament, Nicole Kluthe received Grand Prize for her speech on Mother Theresa, and Katie Milton received first place for her recitation of 'King Canute and the Sea.'