Ninth grader Audrey Ha is eager to start a public speaking club at Menlo-Atherton High School

by Linda Hubbard on September 26, 2018

Menlo-Atherton High School ninth grader Audrey Ha describes herself as an “avid app developer, and dedicated advocate of human-to-human interaction.” 

“Because student interaction now occurs overwhelmingly through technology platforms, I am passionate about inspiring my generation to become more powerful public speakers and in-person communicators,” she said. 

That passion has led her to start a public speaking club at M-A, building on her experience from forming a similar club at Menlo School last year.

“For that, I reached out to Toastmasters International, a global communication and leadership organization, for help,” Audrey explained.  “A member of a local Toastmasters club, Mr. Phillip Cosby (pictured left), responded and agreed to collaborate with me to run the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program together. The Youth Leadership Program (YLP) is Toastmasters’ public speaking workshop designed for teenagers.”

Students with various interests joined. The speeches allowed members to share hobbies, ideas, and their most concerning global issues. 

“Students presented their speeches in an encouraging environment where they could focus on refining communication and enjoying public speaking,” she said. “Listening to other students’ speeches, in turn, taught us about the concerns and interests of classmates and community members, exposing us to a variety of opinions which we might not have otherwise heard.”

The students received constructive feedback from a diverse range of students and Toastmasters. 

For the 2018-2019 school year at M-A, Audrey and Mr. Cosby and will co-run the Youth Leadership Program starting in early October with Carla Ferreira (pictured right) as the school advisor. 

“Students will learn skills such as preparing and presenting talks on diverse issues, impromptu speaking, organizing and presenting ideas, providing constructive feedback, and more,” Audrey said. “They’ll also have the opportunity to exercise important leadership roles within the club. 

“Effective communication and leadership are critical skills for our generation of thinkers, makers, and leaders. I’m hopeful that  Menlo-Atherton students will join us and benefit from the new public speaking club.”

Photo by Lena Kalotihos (c) 2018

One Comment

Brian Dodd September 26, 2018 at 4:52 pm

I would like to help, with an online presence. I am a firm believer that Dr. Ralpd Smedley (the Toastmaster Founder) message should start in Schools, this is the best place to get a start in your Communication, Listening, running Meetings, giving and receiving Feedback, and having fun while doing it. Early on in the 30s and 40s Toastmasters helped arrange Speech Contests between Schools. That seems to be frowned upon today. I will see how I can help from Victoria, BC, Canada.

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