GB Toastmaster wins Bahamas Division I Int’l Speech Contest

DTM Deborah Pratt (center) being presented with the first place trophy by Division I Director Vanessa Scott

On Friday, March 31, 2017, Toastmasters Bahamas Division held its Annual Table Topics and International Speech Contests at the Paul J. Farquharson Centre, Police Headquarters East Street, Nassau. 


At the end of a keen competition with the four winners from the four Toastmasters Areas in Bahamas, Division I (Areas 90, 91, 92 and 93), Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Deborah Pratt from Area 93 (Toastmasters Clubs on Grand Bahama and Abaco) emerged as winner of the International Speech Contest after skillfully delivering her speech titled, “Are You Using Your Gifts?”


Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. Every year Toastmasters Clubs around the world host an International Speech Contest. 


Winners of the clubs’ contests go on to participate in area contests. The winners of the area contests participate in division contests, winners of division contests participate in district contests, winners of the district contests go on to participate in the semi-finals of the International Speech Contest and the winners of the semi-finals compete for the ultimate title of ‘World Champion of Public Speaking.’


Pratt, a member of Freeport Eagles, Toastmasters Club 1425 since August, 2003, won her local club’s International Speech Contest on February 23, 2017. She went on to win Area 93’s contest on March 9 and on Friday, March 31 she won The Bahamas Division I International Speech Contest. 


Pratt is expected to travel to Miami, Florida, on April 22, 2017, to represent Bahamas Division I in District 47’s (Clubs in The Bahamas and South Florida) International Speech Contest, which will be held during the District’s Annual Spring Conference.


“I was elated to have won the contest at that level, but yet it was a somewhat surreal feeling,” said Pratt of the experience. “I have been participating in Toastmasters’ Speech Contests for several years now. I would often win at my club and area levels, but was never successful at winning at the division level in Nassau. So to hear my name announced as winner was totally amazing.”


She noted that what made this win even sweeter was the fact that she contemplated not entering the contest this year. 


“I was becoming a little discouraged and thought that I should just give up or at least not compete this year. It was only a week before my club’s contest that I made up my mind to enter, and the day of the contest I was still trying to complete my speech. 


“After winning at my club’s contest, I continued to work on my speech perfecting it for the area and division contests. I am so excited to finally have an opportunity to participate at the district level and to represent not only my club but also my country.”


TM Ray-Don Poitier, Area 93 Director said that Toastmasters of Division I, Area 93 and Grand Bahama are extremely proud of Pratt’s accomplishments.


He confirmed that she will be representing The Bahamas at the Toastmasters District 47 Spring Conference in the International Speech Competition. 


“It takes someone with incredible skill to ascend to such heights and TM Pratt has exhibited her oratorical prowess throughout this competition. She is indeed, “Using her Gifts.”


“We commend DTM Pratt for her determination to further develop and challenge herself, while being an example to Toastmasters less seasoned in the program. That is the signature of a leader. We wish TM Deborah Pratt, DTM, great success in her journey and Area 93 will be there to support her along the way.”


There are currently three active Toastmasters Clubs on Grand Bahama –Freeport Eagles, Club #1425, which meets every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at Geneva’s Place; Club Destiny, Club #839960 meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 7:15 p.m.  Geneva’s Place and Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) Excellers, Club #5183408, which meets the first and third Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the BPSU Hall.


Published  Monday, April 10, 2017 


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