In 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the United States. For the first time ever a rock n’ roll song was number one on the U.S. charts when “Rock Around the Clock,” by Bill Haley and the Comets, climbed to the top. The first McDonalds restaurant opened. Disneyland opened in Anaheim, CA. The polio vaccine receives approval from the FDA.

Something else happened in 1955. Kent Evening Toastmasters Club, number 1994, chartered in Kent, Washington. For 65 years, Kent Evening Toastmasters, or KET as club members fondly call it, has been a fixture in the Kent valley. That’s 65 years of developing leaders, improving public speaking skills, and changing lives. Wow!

In honor of their anniversary, club members are hosting a celebration, a Reflection on KET’s History. In preparing for the celebration, scheduled for January 13, 2021, Vice President, Public Relations Betty Gibbins explored the history of the city of Kent. She enjoyed seeing photos showing what the downtown looked like in 1955, what kinds of cars people drove, and how they dressed.

Vice President, Membership, Nawat Nhan expressed how proud he was of the club’s longevity. During the span of 65 years, Kent Evening Toastmasters has been a club through a plethora of U.S. historical events. The club saw Toastmaster history in the making including the building of the first World Headquarters in 1962; membership being opened to women in 1973; seeing global membership reach 100,000+ in the 1980s; the first Toastmasters website launched in the 1990s; clubs established in 106 countries in the 2000s; the launch of Pathways – the online educational program – in 2017; and switching to virtual meetings around the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020.

Over the years, through so many different exciting opportunities and challenges, Kent Evening Toastmasters has maintained a strong presence in District 2. Even during the pandemic, when times have been difficult and clubs have needed to make adaptations to how they function by moving online, KET has thrived and built membership. Participating in club meetings on Zoom helped members improve their virtual conferencing skills, which in turned helped them with other aspects of their lives, like transitioning to work from home, seeking jobs during the pandemic, and staying connected with friends and family. That’s an incredible legacy to celebrate and reflect on!

If you would like to join Kent Evening Toastmasters for their celebration, please RSVP via their Facebook event: . During the prepared speeches, a brand-new club member will share her experiences as a new Toastmaster and a long-time member of KET will reflect on his Toastmaster journey. Table Topics will give each participant a chance to reflect on his/her drive to improve communication and leadership skills.

When: Wednesday January 13, 2021

Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm  

Where:  On Zoom