Debate coach eligible for award

Josie Calzonetti

Sugar Beet Staff Reporter

The well known Debate and Forensics coach, Russ Tidwell, has been selected as a candidate for the National Speech and Debate Association Kansas Educator of the year. Tidwell is one of 32 state winners from across the country. Each State Educator of the Year will be considered for the national award. The national finalists will be announced Jan. 15, 2018. On Mar. 2, also known as National Speech and Debate Education Day, one of these coaches will be named the 2018 NSDA Educator of the year. Russ Tidwell, debate and forensics coach was unaware of his nomination in the competition.

“I was very surprised after hearing the nomination,” Tidwell said. “The process requires another speech/debate teacher to nominate you, and to find two other speech/debate teachers to write letters of recommendation. While I’m competitive and would love to be a national finalist, I’ve seen the list of incredible people who were nominated from other states. I’m pretty humbled just to be included with some of those folks.”

The National Speech and Debate Association was created to recognize those who participate in Speech and Debate. Liz Unhruh, an arts and communications academy senior appreciates Tidwell’s strong commitment.

“The thing that I love most about Mr. Tidwell is his willingness to push you to succeed and to do your best no matter the tournament.” Unruh said. “My favorite memory of Mr. Tidwell is going to national qualifiers my sophomore year, halfway through the tournament he pulled us aside and gave us a hype up talk. After our last year national qualifier we found out that we won and Mr. Tidwell blared ‘All I do is win win no matter what’ by DJ Khaled and got hype.”

Tidwell has been teaching for 24 years, many of which he has spent teaching Speech and Debate/forensics at Garden City High school.

“I enjoy watching the students find their voice and their confidence. It’s an amazing thing to watch. I love watching them discover that they have a story to tell.” Tidwell said.

Until the announcement of the national finalists, Tidwell will continue to prepare debate and forensics students for upcoming tournaments. Daniel Darter a health and trade academy junior enjoys Tidwell’s jest.

“My favorite thing about how Mr. Tidwell teaches is his quirky sense of humor, he will correct you in a way that makes you want to do it correctly,” Darter said.


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