Mrs. Vandergrift: Our Speech and Debate Coach

Eric L. F., Editor-in-Chief

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Mrs. Vandergrift is an ELA teacher here at Parks Junior High. However, she is also one of the four amazing coaches on the Parks Speech and Debate team. Every time there is a tournament, she goes with them, both to encourage them and show support, as well as coach people if needed. This is Mrs. Vandergrift’s interview.

What was the hardest thing about coaching students?

Oh, boy. I’d say the hardest thing is encouraging people to have enough stamina. I think that Speech and debate is one of those things where you start out really excited and then you hit that point where  you start to get over it and you really have to push past that point. So I think when coaching students, it’s hard to encourage them to keep working at it so that they can see the benefits. If they’re willing to push harder, they can see the benefits and I really want everyone to be successful.

What are you most proud of your students in the club doing?

Everything! I mean, we’ve got students who are at their first tournament who are just willing to try anything. We asked students to try Impromptu and we had people just sign up and be ready to go for it. I’m so proud that our students are a team, I’m really proud of the way we work together, I’m proud of all the people who whether they broke or didn’t break who just really went in and tried their best. I’ve seen so much growth from every single person, from the time we started and some people were not wanting to do anything, to now where I just see these amazing speakers and debaters coming out, and it’s been awesome.

What is your favorite part of being a coach for Parks S&D?

Definitely working with all the students, that’s hands down my favorite part. You guys are so much fun, and I learn new things from you guys every single day. We’re also really lucky to have amazing coaches, they’re awesome. They help me out with so much stuff, but it’s really you guys, you make it worth it.