By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

GRHS speech coach receives state recognition


With all of Green River High School Speech and Debate team's success, it was no surprise when the team's head coach was recognized for her work.

At the Wyoming Speech and Debate competition, head coach Carina White was named 4A Coach of the Season and was given a plaque from the Wyoming High School Forensics Association.

The WHSFA is a state-wide association that encourages and advances speech in all its phases in Wyoming schools. Coaches from all teams were encouraged to nominate another coach for the award. Each division 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A, were involved in the process; and a coach from each of those divisions was selected to receive the award.

"Carina's success and skills as a coach are without peer, as reflected by the vote of our membership with respect to this award. This award speaks to the respect her fellow coaches hold for her. Coach White received five nominations, more than any other nominee I can recall, and a large percentage of the vote. It is clear the WHSFA membership values the important contributions made by her over the years," Daniel Parson, WHSFA president and assistant GRHS coach, said in a press release.

All of those five nominations spoke highly of White. Most stated she not only looks out for the team, but the entire state. She strives to make sure the competitions remain fair and a positive learning experience for all of the students participating.

One letter stated "This award is long overdue for a coach who has given so much, for so long to so many people. She has served on a variety of committees, tabbed dozens of tournaments, offered richly to important discussions, and has helped raise the competitive bar for students throughout the state. All of this has been done through a driven devotion to our activity and a deep desire to see competitive forensics grow in Wyoming. Carina is a person we can all count on and serves as an excellent role model. She is firm, fair, open and insists that her team conduct itself with the same high level of integrity she holds herself too."

"While being 100 percent focused on her own team, she has never failed to help out someone in need, give advice to, or lend her vast knowledge and opinion on any subject," another nomination stated.

White isn't new to speech and debate; which has helped her greatly as a coach.

White competed for Worland when she was in high school. She qualified for nationals and was a state champion in both cross-examination debate and Lincoln-Douglas debate. After high school, she went on to compete for Northwest College in Powell for two years and also competed at the University of Wyoming. She won junior college nationals in Lincoln-Douglas debate when she competed for Northwest; and she took third place at nationals in cross-examination debate in the same year.

"Speech and debate has absolutely influenced my entire life; and it has been great to come back as a coach and be able to coach in the state that I competed in as a student," White said. "I know first hand what value this activity has."

"It was an honor to be recognized by my peers for my work in the speech and debate community," White said. " I think that other teams respect our program."

As for White's coaching style, she said she is firm, but fair; and the nomination letters supported this.

"I am an advocate for students and what is best for students. I try to help out new coaches and guide them, as I know that what we do is difficult, and it is in the best interest of speech and debate in Wyoming to have strong teams," White said. "I am an advocate for our students and they know I always have their back."

White said the students need to know the coaches are committed and willing to help them in any way.

"I think my background in speech and debate gives me a unique perspective for sure," she said. "We recruit great kids, and they know we care about them, and we all work together to foster a sense of family and team."

White has been coaching in Green River for the last nine years; and she is happy to do it.

"I am lucky to be coaching with people I consider to be very close friends; they love what we do as much as I do and nobody is 'possessive' about an event," she said. "We do specialize in certain events as coaches, but we also work with all the kids at some point in the season; it is always good to get multiple perspectives."

White has coached the Green River team since 2008; and earned her Diamond Award from the National Forensic League in 2014, Parson said. This is the ninth straight year the Green River team has placed in the top three at the state competition. They have earned seven state team championships, had more than 60 national qualifiers, and a dozen individual state champions. Her team has been consistently ranked in the top 3 percent of teams across the country, the release states.


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