What do grandmothers, snake bites, talent shows, donuts, dark chocolate, electricity, and homework have in common? They were the subjects of the inspiring and entertaining speeches delivered at a recent graduation ceremony for Solana Pacific’s Speechmasters program.
Speechmasters is based on the Toastmasters International public speaking and leadership program (www.toastmasters.org), but caters to the 8-12 year old age group. Forty-two 5th and 6th graders eagerly show up an hour before the start of school to deliver prepared speeches, give evaluations, and respond extemporaneously to impromptu questions. Each meeting is entirely run by the children, including the Toastmaster (M.C.), Speakers, Evaluators, Table Topics Master, Timer, Vote Counter, “Um” Counter, and elected officers.
Public speaking and leadership competencies are essential skills that can help a child communicate clearly, listen effectively, and think on their feet. For these reasons, Mojgan Amini and Anne Peterson, Solana Pacific elementary school moms, help run the Speechmasters program at their children’s school.
According to Anne, “Communication is so important in all aspects of life. Students will need good communication for success in academics, personal and professional relationships, and eventual careers. Speechmasters gives them a chance to practice building skills in a fun, supportive environment.”
“It’s amazing how enthusiastically the students embrace these valuable lessons that will no doubt help them become more accomplished adults,” states Mojgan. “Toastmasters has been instrumental in my life, and I’m glad these kids are getting a taste of it at an early age.”
The 12-week program ended with a graduation ceremony in the Solana Pacific auditorium showcasing the participants’ new skills and recognizing their accomplishments.
For information about the Solana Pacific Speechmasters program, contact the school, http://www.sbsd.k12.ca.us/sp/.