Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NSF Public Speaking Contest - Judge

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi 1869-1948

On Saturday August 30, 2008 I had the opportunity to judge the North South Foundation (NSF) Public Speaking Contest at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge MA.

“North South Foundation (NSF) is a non-profit voluntary organization that awards scholarships to qualified and needy students in India entering colleges regardless of religion, gender, caste or creed. The Scholarship program in India is designed to encourage excellence among the poor. It is targeted at qualified, needy students entering college. Over 2,500 scholarships have been awarded to date. Each scholarship is $250 per student per year”.


I was very impressed with the quality of the speeches especially since the question was very challenging and the students only had one half hour (½) to write out their speeches, and then deliver the speech with very minimum use of small index cards.

ALL of the contestants deserve a BIG Congrats. Here are the three finalists; first place - Shubhro Saha, second place - Ishita Kalya and third place - Rishika Chugh!

I was referred to be a judge by the Toastmaster 2007 “World Champion of Public Speaking”, WCPS, Vikas Jhingran who is originally from India and earned his Ph.D. this past May 2008 at MIT. He relocated with his sweet wife Angali from District 31 to Houston Texas (District 56 - Region III) to work at the Shell Oil Company.

Vikas is an EXCELLENT example of how joining Toastmasters and competing in Public Speaking Contests have improved his abilities as a speaker and presenter - (keep in mind that English is not his native language). He is receiving invites to speak all around! He was able to take feedback from many members in District 31 including the 2001 WCPS, Darren LaCroix and the 2003 WCPS Second Place Champ David Sanfacon.

I am thrilled to report that while at the 2008 Toastmasters International Convention in Calgary, Vikas presented an educational session. “Public Speaking - An Emotional Approach” where he “explores the importance of having an emotional connection with the audience using examples from pieces of music, videos and art”.

What further impressed me is that Vikas even had two products at the Convention! Three of his winning speeches the District Speech – “Arranged Marriage”, Regional Speech – “Post Card”, International Speech– “The Question” to sell on DVDs and CDs. Way to go Vikas!

Want to learn how to speak publicly?

Want to compete in a speech contest?

Join Toastmasters it can change your life for life!!


Want to learn more about the North South Foundation?


For more detailed rules, please click on contest rules.

Public Speaking, started from 2006 Regionals, is a pilot contest and is one of the growing lists of contests offered by NSF. This contest is offered with a view to help and educate our children on how to prepare and present a speech before their peers or to a group of people. We all face situations on a regular basis at work, school, and local meetings to deliver speeches to groups of individuals, coworkers and others on topics we have been involved with. At times, people feel stressed out during the preparation and in anticipation of giving a speech.

NSF contests are developed with a view that as our children start preparing for these at an early age, they can become successful communicators and deliver better speeches and become successful. Since public speaking is an art, one can develop the skills for better speaking with determination and hard work.

The contests are conducted every year in two steps. First, children participate in a regional contest, conducted in various states throughout USA. Qualified winners of the regional contests are invited to participate in the National Finals. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners from each contest at the Nationals are awarded scholarships of $1,000, $500, and $250 respectively, redeemable in the winners' freshman year of college.


Abel said...

Small correction about Vikas & Texas. Houston is District 56, not 50. District 50 is Dallas, and home to the current World Champion of Public Speaking, LaShunda Rundles (pronounced LaShawnda).

Sherri Raftery, M.Ed. said...

Thanks for that correction Abel - I just fixed the 50 to 56 !

OH yes - LaShunda did excellent - and I will be blogging about that as well soon! She certainly ROCKED it on the World Champ Stage - as did Katherine Morrison from D31 who came in third this year!