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Senior signs with Western Kentucky

Plans to continue speech career

April 27, 2017
By J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Canfield High School senior Zachery Bernat put pen to paper April 13 to continue his speech and debate career at Western Kentucky University this fall.

According to his speech and debate coach, Jeremy Hamilton, Bernat may be the first CHS graduate to participate in this type of letter of intent signing ceremony.

"A few past team members explored competitive speech and debate in college, none with the same excitement or focus as Zachery," Hamilton said. "To my knowledge, Zach is the first to formally sign this type of a letter of intent while in high school, and he is also the first who has wanted to make it a primary focus of his collegiate experience. Being on the Western Kentucky competitive speech and debate team was the decisive factor for him."

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Canfield High School senior Zachery Bernat signed his letter of intent April 13 to attend Western Kentucky University this fall and participate on the university’s speech and debate team.

WKU, a public university in Bowling Green, Ky., has a prestigious and nationally recognized program, which made it a perfect move for Bernat.

Bernat is the state champion in the humorous interpretation category in Ohio. He is a four-year speech team member who was in the top 12 in the state and a national qualifier during his sophomore and junior years.

"Zachery is very energetic and driven," Hamilton said. "He strives to achieve his goals, works productively with coaches and brings his own ideas to the discussion as well."

Bernat not only was passionate about his own speech and debate career, Hamilton said, but he acted as a motivating factor for the entire team.

The team gathered Saturday mornings for the bus to head to a tournament, Hamilton said, and Bernat would show up with a "burst of energy" that the coach said was infectious for the rest of the team.

Combined with his state championship, Bernat played a key role in helping continue Canfield's exceptional competitive accomplishments.

At Western Kentucky, Bernat plans to pursue a degree in communication and work as an aspiring actor.

"My dream is to be on 'Saturday Night Live,'" Bernat said.

Hamilton said Bernat's goals are not out of reach and whatever path the senior chooses, he will give it his all.

"As for 'Saturday Night Live,' he certainly has the potential," Hamilton said. "There are a lot of individuals who aspire to that level, so it will take his continued dedication and additional opportunities to meet. Regardless, though, Zach has a very bright future and he will find his niche. Perhaps it will be in a venue or a field that he discovers while at Western Kentucky."



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