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Let's Visit BHS Speech Coach Tom Lucas

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Members of the Bemidji High School Speech Team

...if you give students an opportunity to be brilliant, they will be brilliant most of the time, but you have to give them the chance to do this. And I really think this activity provides a venue and provides an opportunity for these students to to really experience great growth in their communication and their creativity... - Tom Lucas, Bemidji High School Speech Coach

High School Speech programs equip kids with skills that have real potential to ultimately enhance their future careers and lives.  Effective communication, the power of calm under pressure, cogent thinking,  the art of preparation, and both giving and receiving construction criticism are just a few takeaways from this powerful experience. 

Tom Lucas has coached speech in Bemidj for more than 20 years.  He spoke on the morning show about the high school speech program, how it impacts kids and how the pandemic has altered the complex speech tournament process.  He recently received his second Diamond Award from the National Speech and Debate Association commemorating his long-standing ability to coach students toward achieving greatness in their speech abilities.  According to Tom,  speech is so much more than the ability to speak in public... 

..some people think it's all about learning how to speak in front of people without being nervous... I don't I don't think that's it...you can be nervous and you can have that nervous energy, but how do you channel that energy so that it doesn't appear that you have it? This is more I think that the skill that we that we train and that comes through repetition, but it comes through growth...if you watch students,  that come in as sixth graders and seventh graders  with those just very basic skills ...we watch them develop over the course of about five or six years into being able to put on performances where people watch this and say, "I can't believe students are doing this... I can't believe they have this ability."... I mean, I just went through a debate season where  we were watching 10th graders debate over international nuclear policy...

...try to imagine a world where the leaders of movements do not have the access to the importance of the spoken word...  it would be it would be hard to imagine moving anything forward if that if that were not the case. Tom Lucas, Bemidji High School Speech Coach

 
Click on the link for the full interview! 

Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.