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Local Toastmasters are pictured after winning awards in the area speech contest. In the front is Glen De Guzman. In the second row, from left, are Mark Laska, Hastings Club President Terri Cheney, Area 83 Governor Ernie Stone and Deb Miller. (Submitted photo by Bri Nellermoe)

Local speakers earn Toastmasters awards

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News Hastings,Minnesota 55033
Hastings Star Gazette
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Local speakers earn Toastmasters awards
Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

Three members of the Hastings StoryWeavers, a new Toastmasters group, recently won awards during the Toastmasters’ speech contests. One is advancing in competition to the international contest in Thunder Bay, Canada.


Toastmasters International is a worldwide organization focused on helping people develop their communications and leadership skills. The organization is split into several districts comprising several small, local groups.

The Hastings club is called the Hastings StoryWeavers. Members gather at Tilden Community Center every Thursday at 6 p.m. to practice becoming better communicators. It’s a new group, having organized just a few months ago, in July.

“Members of the community discovered the need to share stories within the community,” explained Mark Laska, a member of the Hastings StoryWeavers. “In the past, stories share the history and traditions of a family. Today, it is a tool used to create effective business communications.”

At the Area 83 Fall Speech Contest on Sept. 28, three Hastings StoryWeavers earned awards for their presentations. Deb Miller earned a second place in the Table Topics category, which encourages development of impromptu and/or extemporaneous speaking skills. Laska placed second in the Humorous Speech category. Glen De Guzman placed first in Humorous Speech in the metro division at the district level Oct. 5, earning him a chance to compete in the District 6 international contest, held at the annual Fall Conference Oct. 25 and 26 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. District 6, which includes the Hastings club, covers parts of Minnesota and Ontario.

Local intiative

The Hastings StoryWeavers are planning several events through which they can reach out to the Hastings community in 2014. Members are working on creating opportunities for job seekers, ESL professionals and youth groups.

Guests are welcome to visit the group and experience Toastmasters before becoming members.

For more information about Toastmasters and District 6, go to

Katrina Styx
Katrina Styx has been a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette since 2010. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Prior to coming to Hastings, Katrina reported for weekly newspapers in Jordan, Minn., and River Falls, Wis.
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