Toastmasters District 36 International Speech Contest Champion Advances to Region Finals

SILVER SPRING, Md. - June 18, 2020 - PRLog -- District 36 Toastmaster, Lauren Merritt-Taylor was awarded first place in the District's virtual speech contest that took place via Zoom on Sunday, May 17, 2020, and advances to the Toastmasters regional finals in June. Merritt-Taylor's speech "Walk In Your Purpose!" scored the highest out of seven contestants in the contest. The annual competition is conducted in District 36, in which anyone of 3,000 members can compete. Merritt-Taylor's reached the championship level after several eliminating rounds that began at her club level in March. Merritt-Taylor's speech inspired the audience to plan, pursue and push towards their purpose. Merritt-Taylor will compete against the other winners from the region for a chance to advance to the semifinals and hopes to be a finalist for the World Championship of Public Speaking which will happen during the Toastmasters International 2020 Virtual Convention, August 24-29, 2020.

Merritt-Taylor says, "I am so excited to be the District 36 Champion as a third year Toastmaster. I owe my success to God, my awesome clubs, my family, and supporters. I'm looking forward to continuing my speaking journey in this organization." Merritt-Taylor is a member of Riverside Toastmasters Club in Riverdale, Maryland, and NTL Advanced Speakers Club in Greenbelt, Maryland. Merritt-Taylor was also the 2019 District 36 Table Topics and Evaluation Contest Winner. Merritt-Taylor is a resident of Bowie, Maryland.

The second-place winner, Deborah Thomson's captivating speech titled "Up in the Air" described a transpacific flight with a life-threatening emergency and illustrated how a team of strangers saved a fellow passenger's life. Thomson says, "It is an honor to have placed second in the District International Speech Contest! I am grateful for finding supportive friends in this global communication club. Toastmasters has improved my everyday life." Thomson was representing the United States Senate Club in Washington, DC and is also a member of the DC Aspiring Speakers Toastmasters Club in Washington, DC. Thomson joined Toastmasters in 2014 while in San Francisco where she was a member of the Golden Gate Toastmasters Club.

"I am grateful for being a Toastmaster and placing in the top three. I have learned to win; you must lose graciously. I apply that philosophy in everything that I do. I believe everyone is a winner.  And I am cheering for our District winner to win the International Speech Contest," says Icy Barton whose speech titled "Worth It" placed third in the District 36 International Speech contest. Barton is a member of the Chesapeake Club in Burtonsville, MD, and is looking forward to finishing the requirements and becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest honor a Toastmaster can earn.  Barton is a two-time winner of the District 27's Humorous Speech contest.

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., the organization's membership exceeds 358,000 in more than 16,800 clubs in 143 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit Follow @Toastmasters ( on Twitter.

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