(CLEVELAND) Ramona Smith turned her story of perseverance into a victory in Chicago Saturday as she became the 2018 World Champion of Public Speaking at the 87th Annual Toastmasters International Convention.
The 31-year-old Collinwood High School graduate came from a single family home, dropped out of college four times before graduating from Baldwin Wallace College, became a single mother after her marriage ended in divorce after eight months, and overcame the news her son had a cancerous tumor at age two. She took those adversities and turned them into triumph with the speech titled "Still Standing."
"You don't have to have a ball in your hand, you don't have to be a singer or a rapper or a movie star to be a champion," she says. "All you have to do is figure out what you're good at and be great at it and share it with the world and that makes you special."
She's only the fourth woman and second African American woman to win the Toastmaster's honor. She currently lives in Houston where she teaches human growth and development to high school students.
© 2018 iHeartMedia Photo Courtesy Jerry Masek
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For the first time in World Championship of Public Speaking® history, female competitors swept the top three positions. Congratulations to Ramona J. Smith for winning this year’s competition! Buy and watch the competition with Toastmasters On Demand.https://t.co/N0hwssHTeP pic.twitter.com/VuzNS76cmD— Toastmasters (@Toastmasters) August 27, 2018