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Poland Speech and Debate Coach inducted into Hall of Fame

March 27, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Poland Speech and Debate Team Coach Jodi West was inducted into the Ohio Speech and Debate Association's Coaches Hall of Fame earlier this month. For the Poland coach, it represented two decades of dedication to speech and debate.

West has been coaching over 20 years, with 13 of them being at Poland Seminary High School. Prior to coming to Poland, she coached a team at Warren JFK. Her passion comes from her own involvement when she was in high school.

"I participated in high school doing Lincoln Douglas Debate and what was then called Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking at Girard High School," she said. "I felt the activity had done so much for myself socially and academically and I wanted to be able to help in offering that same support to other students."

Article Photos

Poland Seminary High School Head Speech Team Coach, Jodi West, was inducted into the Ohio Speech and Debate Association's Coaches Hall of Fame. West is pictured with fellow inductees Amanda Franklin and Jake Courtney.

During the past two decades, West had tremendous success on the state and national level.

"On the state level I have had a state champion, multiple second place student finishes in multiple events, multiple finalists (top six) as well as dozens of semi-finalists (top 12)," West said. "Even on the National level I have had a finalist in Congressional Debate, top 14 in the nation in Public Forum Debate and also multiple Semi-Finalists (top 12) and quarter Finalists (top 32)."

When asked what the hardest thing is for coaching a high school team, she said it would have to be dealing with the need for technology for students to compete weekly. She said some events allow the access of internet during preparation (mostly debate). However not all students can afford a laptop and then it's the cost of having a hot spot for them to access the internet to prepare for their debates during the tournament prep.

"We fund raise relentlessly to be able to afford to compete at all of our tournaments weekly including states and nationals and the money to purchase laptops and hot spots for the debaters to use is a continual struggle that we are striving to meet," West said.

While there is a lot of work involved and a lot of needs to be met, West does get a lot in return for her hard efforts.

"The biggest reward is seeing a student reach the goals they set for themselves yearly," she said. "Also seeing them graduate the program as an individual that can critically think and respond to what the world throws at them is all you can ask for. You know once they are done with their career in speech and debate they will be a wonderful contributing member to society."



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