DeWispelare chosen for honor at national speech competition

Nolan DeWispelare, a teacher and coach at Pius X High School, was selected and served in the final round judge pool of the 2019 National Speech & Debate Tournament, the largest academic competition in the world.

Nolan DeWispelare tennis coach speech and journalism teacher“I consider selection as a final round adjudicator to be one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed on an individual attending the National Tournament,” said J. Scott Wunn, executive director of the National Speech & Debate Association. “Nolan’s dedication to speech and debate activities is quite apparent and your support of the activity is greatly appreciated.”

DeWispelare answered questions about the process and benefits for being chosen for this honor.

How were you selected for this honor at the national event?
Basically it boils down to me getting selected to judge the final round of Commentary at the NSDA National Tournament in Dallas this past June. All coaches who have entries at the national tournament are responsible to do some judging during the tournament, though as far as I understand it, they reserve the final rounds for more experienced coaches/judges.

Why is it important for you to judge at this (and perhaps other) events? What does it mean to you to be chosen?
I enjoy judging on the national level because I get to see different styles and forms of speaking than what we see here in Nebraska. As trends and styles change from year to year and region to region, judging the best of the nation gives me a lot of ideas to introduce to our team to help us expand our boundaries and abilities. I’ve judged at Nationals several times, but this is the first time I was selected to do a final round. I was on a panel of 7 judges for the final round.

How have you seen the speech program here at Pius X benefit our students?
I’ve seen our speech program benefit our students in so many ways. For some, it’s the confidence they develop in their ability to speak or present in front of a crowd. For others, being on the speech team helps them to develop their writing and critical thinking abilities. Some have talked about finding a place where they belong and can be valued members of a team. I love when speech alums come back and talk about what they’re doing with their lives and, without prompting, mention how they use skills from speech every day.

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