Current Students / News

Raymond: The power of a voice

Raymond Appe, a participant from Cote d’Ivoire who is studying business management at Edmonds Community College established the STAR Toastmasters Club last fall. He wanted to “help empower students to become more effective communicators and leaders.” To start the club, Raymond worked closely with club officers from the downtown Edmonds Toastmaster’s Club, where he is also a member.

STAR Toastmasters Group

Raymond formed the STAR Toastmasters Club with a few fellow NWCCI participants who signed on as charter members. In fact, the club’s vice president is CCI student Vijay Kumar from Pakistan. So far, the club has about 15 active members.

One of the great aspects of the STAR Toastmaster club its ability contribute to the internationalization of the Edmonds campus in a great way, as many of the students give speeches with a cultural perspective. It also helps give international students some important speaking tips that help them present their own countries  and stories to a larger audience. Raymond, for example, has given three speeches so far: one related to his life story, one about polygamy in his country, and a third about general information about his country and culture.

Toastmasters is a brilliant way for participants to be able to practice their storytelling and public speaking in an encouraging and comfortable environment. Each meeting provides helpful feedback for speakers who prepared their speech for that meeting, including tips for using less, “um” or unusual pauses while speaking.


Raymond says that he has benefited from both clubs, the one he created at Edmonds Community College and the one in downtown Edmonds where he is a member.  He says,

“First of all, I have met a lot of people through this club. In addition, I am making a lot of good friends. Plus, Toastmaster has enabled me to brush up on my English. My listening and critical thinking skills are reaching a stunning level. In the end, Toastmasters is a place where I meet business people and I am learning from their experiences to be a great entrepreneur after this program.”

According to EdCC student government, there have been public speaking clubs in the past, but they have not lasted long. The biggest challenge for the club isn’t courage to speak, it’s sustainability. The students are not usually on campus for more than one or two years, but Raymond and the other STAR Toastmasters club members are already working to identify students who will be at EdCC next year so they can maintain the club status into the future. The downtown Edmonds Toastmasters Club has also offered their assistance in helping the club grow and are currently working to set up a website and other important tools to move forward and reach an international audience. To inquire about the STAR Toastmasters club at Edmonds Community College, you can contact club’s advisor, at or read more about the Toastmaster’s mission at


 US Dept of StateThe NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by the student bloggers.


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