Butte High students involved in speech and debate know their stuff, and it’s reflected with two of their coaches’ recent accolades.
Following last weekend’s Garden City Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament in Missoula, Butte High speech coaches Terri Hartline-Belke and Roger McCullough, received awards based on the success of their teams.
Hartline-Belke, the coach for short preparation speech events, won her first Diamond Award from the National Forensic League. The award goes to coaches whose students have accrued 15,000 speaker points at competitions. For every 10 speaker points a student gets, their coach gets 1 coaching point, so she had 1,500 coaching points.
Belke has been involved with the speech team since her daughter joined in 1996. She started as a “team mom” and volunteer coached throughout the years as well.
The award wasn’t unexpected: Hartline-Belke’s points had been at 1,487 for a while. But when McCullough announced it on the bus in Missoula, she became emotional.
Belke said she’s remained involved even after her children graduated because of the value of the program. She said it encourages academic excellence, teaches resiliency and team work ethic and helps young people find their voice.
Roger McCullough, who coaches for the interpretation events, received the Quad Ruby Award for accumulating 10,000 speaker points in his 10 years on the team, which translates to 1,000 coaching points.
Senior Mitch Rosa has been in debate all four years of high school. He said McCullough is funny and easy going. As with Hartline-Belke, Rosa said team members take McCullough’s words seriously.
“When he advises we do something, he’s not messing around,” Rosa said.
Rosa, who’s been to finals multiple times, said both coaches have sent several speakers and debaters to national competitions for the National Forensics League. He said the two have helped many teens, himself included, grow into more outgoing, comfortable people.
“They’ve helped me speak and be comfortable in front of crowds,” Rosa said.
The state Class AA speech and debate championship will be held in Butte Jan. 25-26.
— Reporter Piper Haugan: 496-5572, firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter.com/Piper_Haugan