Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson

Coach named to hall of fame


October 17, 2019

courtesy photo

Carina White

Her name is synonymous with speech and debate in Green River and has coached the high school team for more than a decade.

Carina White was recently inducted in the Wyoming Speech and Debate Hall of Fame.

The Wyoming High School Forensics Association presents the award to one coach a year who is nominated and voted on by previous recipients. According to a press release, the association's hall of fame recognizes people who have enhanced high school speech and debate in Wyoming, demonstrating immense dedication to students and coaches.

"I am humbled to be included with the people who were heroes to me and helped me find a passion and love for speech and debate," White said. "I grew up in Wyoming and speech and debate has been a part of my life since I was 14." 

White was nominated by three different people, one was her own assistant coach, Dan Parson.

"She has, through hard work, patience, and skill built a legacy team that is respected all over the country," Parson said in his letter. "She has coached her kids to eight state titles in the last 12 years, and qualified scores of students for national level competition, making GRHS Speech and Debate the most successful team in Wyoming history."

Even though the award was handed out at a hall of fame ceremony, White was unable to attend due to the speech and debate team's obligation to run the concession stand at the high school that day.

"I got a text from the president of speech and debate in Wyoming, Londe Gagnon, (who) told me I had been inducted into the hall of fame," White said. "There were for sure tears. It is such an honor to be recognized by my peers in that way. I wish I had known or at least known I had been nominated and it was a possibility."

Not only has White been coaching for GRHS for 13 years, 11 as the head coach, she has a held a number of leadership positions within he Wyoming High School Forensics Association and the Wind River National District. She's also taught in various positions for Sweetwater County School District No. 2.

"From her, I learned not only tactics, techniques and organizational strategies, but far more importantly what it means to inspire students," Parson said.

"Carina's team shows weekend after weekend what it means to win with honor, lose with dignity, never give up, and always keep progressing even when it seems impossible. She models to students and coaches alike how to make everyone feel valuable and heard."

Parson said White is always doing what is best for students, which is why the program has been so successful.

White said she thought about receiving the honor one day, but knew only a few coaches do.

"Once you are in the hall of fame you can nominate and vote for new inductees," White said. "It is literally the best of the best in our coaching world."

For White, speech and debate is an important activity at GRHS.

"Over the years I have (seen) the impact speech and debate can have on students. It is such a positive," White said. "Not only do students gain confidence and the ability to speak in public, but they learn how to use their voice and those same students end up as leaders in Washington D.C., advocates for those who need a voice, lawyers, doctors."

She said she is so amazed at how much of the alumni are making a real difference in the real world.

"Speech and debate is also about inclusion, it is a place of safety and acceptance for everyone. Just that alone is so powerful. It has changed my world for the better," White said.

White also wanted to thank Parson and RaNae Johnson for being her support team and assistant coaches.

"I would like to thank the administration of Sweetwater No. 2 for the amazing support we have received for our program year after year," White said. "Most of all, I would like to thank the students on my team: you have given me so much more than you will ever know."


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