10, 9, 8, 7, 6, Evaluation contest engine’s on, 3, 2, 1. “Terrace@12” we have lift off!

With a roar of applause, Adytia launches into his speech “The Universe an Amazing Place”.

He talked swiftly and vividly of the stars in the night sky and how he came to love them when as a child in India he would sleep on the open flat top roof of his uncle’s house. Lying down with “the amazing, spectacular, awe-inspiring cosmic theatre above his head”.

By this time the room full of Terrace@12 members, contest officials, and visiting judges were feeling the intensity and trajectory of Adytia’s speech when he told us he had 3 parts to his speech which were 3 properties of space: It is huge, it is moving fast, and its filled with stuff.

The club contest was also similar to the three properties of space chosen. It was “huge”, with 7 contestants intently listening. It “moved fast”, in line with the tight timings on the agenda and controlled by Marion Horan’s and Jasmine Lal’s operating the lights. It was “filled with stuff”, much stuff: the briefings, the test speaker speech, the test speaker interview, the 7 evaluations, the contestant interviews, and the final results.

The briefings were given simultaneously by Chloe Latto (Contest Chair) to the contestants, and by Pauline Gallagher(Chief Judge).

After Adytia’s speech was successfully orbiting in the heads of everyone, the six contestants whom might have felt a bit like astronauts being escorted to a hatch to make a spacewalk were released into the room one by one by Marion Pawson (Sargent at Arms) to give their evaluations.

Some of the commending first few words of the seven contestants (in speaking order) were:

  1. Chris Ashley, “Enthusiasm, Conviction, Connection, Sincerity”
  2. John Stapleton, “What a Fantastic Speech”
  3. Ruth Fletcher, “Every Speech as a purpose”
  4. Grace Xu, “Yes it’s amazing, yes it’s knowledgeable, but what’s new?”
  5. Peter Scholtens, “One of the Things I loved was the charisma”
  6. Thomas Wynne, “Ambitious, enthusiastic”
  7. Hazel Bidmead, “What a passionate and enthusiastic speech”


Since the purpose of Toastmaster’s evaluations is not only to commend but also to suggest improvements, each contestant gave their suggestions to Adytia:

  • Chris, connect by revealing the speech’s purpose at the start.
  • John, explain what is dark matter is.
  • Ruth, reduce the scope of topic, signpost, wrap up in summary.
  • Grace, elaborate on the big bang, balance left-right eye contact.
  • Peter, address fact overload using relatable sizes, recap in the summary.
  • Thomas, relatable distances, snappiness for the intro.
  • Hazel, put the pen down, throttle back the intensity.

The judges deliberated and gave their scores to the tally counters, who totalled busily whilst the contestants were asked what their favourite flavour of ice-cream was! Then  everyone waited before exploding ever larger supernovas of applause over the result of the contest:

3rd Ruth Fletcher
2nd Hazel Bidmead
1st Peter Scholtens

Peter (left), Hazel (middle), Chloe (right)