The Great Bend High School speech team competed at the District National Qualifying Speech Tournament held at Buhler High School last Friday and Saturday. Sophomore Patrick Heath qualified to the National Tournament in Informative Speaking by placing 2nd. Also at this event, Coach Barbara Watson was inducted into the West Kansas Chapter of the National Speech and Debate Association Hall of Fame, and assistant coach Kim Heath, who will become the GBHS coach for speech, debate and forensics next year, was recognized as Volunteer of the Year.
All four students competing placed in both of their events at this national qualifying speech tournament. Patrick Heath will compete at Nationals June 16-23 in Fort Lauderdale Fla. In other events, this past weekend, he placed 2nd in Informative Speaking and 8th in Humorous Solo Acting; Bayle Sandy, sophomore, placed 3rd in Oration and 6th in Serious Solo Acting, making her first and second alternate in those events; Jalyn Lear, junior, placed 4th in Humorous Solo Acting and 1st alternative for nationals and 7th in Serious Solo Acting; Geoffrey Pafford, junior, placed 7th in Humorous Solo Acting and 8th in Informative Speaking.
Watson is retiring at the end of this school year and Kim Heath will be stepping up as the GBHS speech coach. Both were recognized at the event.
“Kim Heath has been volunteering as my unofficial Debate and Speech and Forensics coach assistant for 16 years, running the tab room for our host tournaments, listening to and helping students with speeches,” Watson told the Great Bend Tribune. “Kim has also judged at many NFL/NSDA qualifying tournaments over the years. Kim has had two of her children in Debate and Speech for just the past five years. The first 11 years she helped before that and encouraged many of her Freshman English students to take my class.”
Kim Heath is the mother of national qualifier Patrick and 2017 GBHS graduate Ashtin Heath, who competed in the national tournament last June.
“I am very happy that Kim Heath will be taking my place next year as the official Speech and Debate Coach at Great Bend High school,” Watson said. “She was part of the KSU national debate championship team in college! She was also a fantastic debate and speech coach at Abilene and Wellington before she started teaching at Great Bend High School. I know it will be a smooth transition next year, which is what I want for her and the team.”