"We become what we think about all day long." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is with great enthusiasm that I would like to tell you of a recent Public Speaking class I attended, that was taught by Mrs. Karen Shaper at the Washtenaw Community College. The week long educational experience was a requirement by the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters in order to continue my own teaching position with my home local #562 in St. Louis, Mo.

Before I continue I would like to explain. Not only am I a part time instructor I am also an elected official in a fairly large municipality just a few miles outside of St. Louis. I considered myself very well rounded in the Public Speaking category and felt I would be wasting mine and Mrs. Shaper’s time, attending the class.


What I felt to be rather interesting was that Karen’s students came from all over the country, literally. Students from New York, Alabama, California, Louisiana, Arkansas, etc. How in the world could a teacher get her message and educational skills across to such a wide variety of personalities and people with so many different backgrounds and up bringing?

I am writing you this letter of testimony to tell you JOB WELL DONE by Mrs. Shaper. Karen’s presentation style was full of real life experience, enthusiasm, and not to mention her knowledge and communication of the subject was second to none. She presented her information in a variety of ways in order to get her point across to the entire class. If she felt someone may have been slightly confused I noticed her one on one approach which seemed to be just what the particular student needed to receive the point Karen was trying to make at the time. Keeping the four hour block class going at all times was quite the accomplishment on its own.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks? I’ve been in the public eye for well over 15 years now. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many hours of Public Speaking I have given? I can tell you this. After attending Karen’s class I feel more confident than ever when I approach the podium in the council chambers or enter my class room at the educational facility. Not only was Karen’s class NOT a waste of time, it was one of the best I have ever been fortunate enough to attend.

Bob Howell
UA Instructor
O’Fallon City Councilman
Project Management-State of Missouri