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Minutes: 2019 Fall Coaches Meeting

Debate and Speech

Updated 10/8/19

Lewiston High School room V217, 156 East Avenue, Lewiston
September 13, 2019

Attendees: Lyndsy Denk (Falmouth HS), Ellen Parent (at large), Brian Dodge (Deering HS), Jason Curry (Greely HS), Randy Hughes-King (at large), Kailey Smith (Lawrence HS), Dan Haskell (Cheverus HS), Gayle Giguere (Waterville HS), Nancy Hebert (Waterville HS), John Russell (Yarmouth HS), Larry Bartlett (Morse HS), Ben Grasso (Thornton Academy), Pat Spilecki (Lewiston HS), Amy Trask (Bangor HS), Joe Pelletier (Bangor HS), D’Arcy Robinson (Poland Regional HS), Lisa Melanson (Cape Elizabeth HS), Laura Dwyer (Stearns Senior HS)

Summary of key decisions and action items

Key decisions/announcements:

Congratulations and welcome to:

  • President-elect Jason Curry of Greely HS
  • Lincoln-Douglas Moderator Lisa Melanson of Cape Elizabeth HS

The 2019-2020 season calendar is detailed below with snow dates. The web site and Google calendar have been updated based on these minutes.

The organization would like to reinforce the protocol of students submitting protests/complaints through their coach. Exception: If the student’s problem is with their own coach, they can filter through a peer on the Council of Nine or another coach.

As a perpetual concern, to support judge training we encourage judges to seek support with Tabulation. 

  • Let tabulation staff know ASAP if a judge is new (and in need of training). You can at least give us a note in Tabroom and we’ll do our best to set them up to shadow the first two rounds of their event.
  • Second, tabulation staff always encourages judges, new or experienced, to bring questions or seek guidance with tabulation. We’re there to help with feedback wording or clarify rules/guidelines.

We threw around a lot of great ideas (big and small) to encourage recruitment of schools and students, maintain and increase event enrollment numbers, and promote speech and debate in general. See New Business: Speech population decline.

There has been a lot of moving and shaking around the state with coaching. See a summary in New Business.

The Spear Speaking Scholarship is back! After years, the trust now has funds to support a scholarship. Vice-president Robinson proposed a clear structure for awarding an annual Speech scholarship that includes an invitation to present their winning piece (all expenses paid) to the Maine Principals Association spring luncheon.

A motion passed to recommend to the Maine District Committee that the final of Congressional Debate be named after Dale Denno. The committee consulted over email in days after the meeting and agreed to the recommendation unanimously.

Action items:

  • Dodge, L. Denk partner to connect a couple leads for Brunsick coaching. 
  • Melanson, Hughes-King, and L. Denk plan Maine Middle School Tournament for earlier in the season and seek to form an online middle school coach network.
  • Robinson work with treasure (Parent) and secretary (L. Denk) to reprise Spear Speaking Contest Scholarship Award, specifically documenting procedure and ordering trophy for State tournament.
  • Maine NSDA committee discuss and vote on recommendation to name the Congressional Debate finals at the Maine District Tournament after Dale Denno.

Breakfast and General Talking

Welcome and introductions

Vote on Parliamentarian for the meeting

Nomination: J. Curry (Spilecki, Parent), unanimous.

Officers’ Reports

Secretary Lyndsy Denk (Falmouth)

Minutes for the spring meeting are posted to maineforensic.org. These fall minutes will be posted as soon as I can get them up.

Treasurer Ellen Parent (at large)

Orders for binders and slicks have gone down. I’m not sure if that’s a cyclical thing or not. Orders for timers are almost nil.

Big Questions: We should change that budget number if we choose to happen. I don’t want to 

The biggest expense was hosting States. I budgeted a lower amount for this year than what we spent last year because hosting at Thornton Academy is always so expensive.

Additional expenses are about the same. We did award a bit more in gifts due to retirements and other recognition.

This year we’re looking at a loss, which is okay because we have money in the reserves. If it continues over the next few years, we ought to think about balancing.

Dodge: Are we down on membership?

  • Parent: I don’t know how many we’ve lost over the years, but I can pull that together.

L. Denk: What’s the lunch plan today?

  • Parent: We’re ordering from Panera. We can take orders over a break.

Vice President D’Arcy Robinson (Poland)

We have an excellent rapport with the Maine Principals Association. Our connection there was very pleased with how States went. If you had concerns, though, by all means send along.

MPA is interested in reprising the Spear Speaking Contest.

Council of Nine is going strong. Their strength is the ability to reflect on themselves. We will continue this group.

President Brian Dodge (Deering)

Fully bragging, at the NSDA Tournament in Dallas the World Schools Debate Team had great success, making it to octofinals. Congratulations to the schools represented: Deering, Maranacook, and Falmouth; and to coach Josh Denk of Falmouth.

Of interest today is that leadership is changing at Lincoln Academy. Based on conversations with the new coach, it looks like the tournament is still on.

  • Trask: Same date?
    • Dodge: As far as we’re aware.
  • Melanson: Will they still offer full Congressional Debate?
    • Dodge: Unknown.

States went really well. We had trouble getting the video from Janet Mills going, but we arranged it to happen just prior to awards. If anyone has suggestions for other guest speakers (video or live), pelase send along.

We need a States host. Brunswick currently has no coach.

  • Spilecki: Lewiston might be able to.

We had plenty of students come to tabulation and officers to report things. I strongly encourage students to start with their coach and filter issues through them.

  • Curry: Suggestion, though, that if the problem is with a student’s own coach, that we advise they start with the Council of Nine. (General consensus around the room.)

Giguere: Can someone clarify the makeup and role of the Council of Nine?

  • Robinson: Yes, CoN comprises students voted in by their peers from various schools. There are three students per event for a total of nine. We convene the group as often as we can at all events tournaments to discuss issues/successes as raised by the student population. An example from last year: dress code and comments from judges that felt discriminating based on dress code. We came up with a recommendation for MFA leadership on how to advise judges on things like dress code and proceed with judges who consistently deliver discriminatory ballots (even beyond dress code).

A snafu about this year’s States is that Brunswick is now without a coach.

  • L. Denk: This is an agenda item that we can get into detail about later.

A reminder that I will never email you to ask for money. That is spam spoofing.

  • L. Denk: General guidance is that it’s easy to spoof a person’s name, less so their actual email address. If you open the header and check the sender’s email address, you can see if it’s the real deal or not. In general, be wary.

Moderator’s reports

Speech: Kailey Smith (Lawrence)

To reiterate things that we can’t control that commonly come up:

  • Judge quality and training. Can we establish a committee of coaches, especially if so adamant, we can discuss for understanding and action items.
  • Judges briefing. We can improve some of the wording, but otherwise my recommendation is to include a link to the briefing in the invitations to share with judges.
  • I’ve heard from students and coaches that they want to hear more from the Council of Nine. Maybe we can distribute something. Plenty of students also didn’t know how to get involved.
    • L. Denk: We have social media channels on Facebook and Twitter to distribute.
    • Smith: I’d love to get more involved online.
  • Supporting new teams. Waterville started with a grant, right? (Affirmed) And considering the treasurer’s report that dues and fees might need to go up to balance costs, which could be prohibitive. It might be a cyclical problem.
    • L. Denk: I digested some numbers on rooms and, generally, it looks like the decline is especially the case in the last two years.
    • Smith: I’d say five years.
    • L. Denk: Strongly in the last two, slower decline the three years prior, yes. I think this year is going to be a determining factor in whether this is a trend or a cycle.
    • Robinson: Can we add to new business? (Yes, but actually old business because it came up in Spring.)

Review Extemporaneous Speaking topics

Will send an email to Gene Rouse. We’ll post these soon.

Congressional Debate: Randy Hughes-King (at large)

We intend to pursue again hosting the NSDA qualifiers at the State House.

Tabroom: We adjusted from adjudicating together to accommodate online tabulation. As a result we had scoring all over the place. We are going to reprise the consultation at the end of the day, including a form for judges to complete in event something is missed.

Low senate enrollment: I want to investigate more with the students why they’re hesitant to join Senate and find ways to promote registering at this level. There’s not so much a conspiracy, but a fear. We need to perform a balancing act.

Plagiarism: One of the possible solutions is to create, not a rule, but a hard guideline that the bill should include a WHEREAS clause referring to current events of the last three months or so.

  • Robinson: How does the WHEREAS fix plagiarism?
    • Curry: We’ve had students take legislation from three years or more ago. So, for example, if they submit legislation that was most relevant during the Obama administration, we would want them to demonstrate current insights for relevance, which might affect the contents of the bill.
    • Hughes-King: There’s no benefit to the student submitting the bill to plagiarize. We want a policy that still supports participation with accountability up front. That said, I have no problem throwing fire and brimstone.

Public Forum: Joe Pelletier (Bangor)

Plargiarism and briefs: I encourage coach awareness. These briefs and such are broadly available online, so it’s very easy to just read as is. It can be self-monitoring over the course of the season because their cases become redundant or unsophisticated, which reflects in scores.

Judge training is a perennial issue. I encourage coaches to talk to new judges. Reach out to your colleague coaches. We have offered at the Bangor tournament 10-15 minutes prior to the briefing to have a side meeting for newer judges to cover some ground.

  • Giguere: I found a lot of value in shadowing my first couple of tournaments.
  • Pelletier: Remember that even when you serve on a panel, you learn that everyone sees something different.
  • L. Denk: I encourage judges to seek support with Tabulation. First, let tabulation staff know ASAP if a judge is new (and in need of training). You can at least give us a note in Tabroom and we’ll do our best to set them up to shadow the first two rounds of their event. Second, tabulation staff always encourages judges, new or experienced, to bring questions or seek guidance with tabulation. We’re there to help with feedback wording or clarify rules/guidelines.

Any nominations to accept all reports? Haskell, (unanimous)

Lincoln-Douglas: OPEN

Vote to fill open seats


Nomination: Joe Pelletier (Curry), declined

Nomination: Jason Curry (Robinson, L. Denk) unanimous.

  • Robinson: I appreciate how you’ve handled things in the past.
  • Hebert: I have appreciated how much you’ve supported me. It’s demonstration of leadership.

Nomination: Larry Bartlett (Hughes-King, Curry), declined because he’s so much in favor of Curry.

L. Denk: For those who remember the by-laws, does this mean Curry becomes president next season? I know there’s something about odd/even years. (General yes)

  • Parent: We ought to revisit the years stipulations in the by-laws.

Lincoln-Douglas Moderator

Nomination: Melanson (Haskell, Curry) unanimous

Technology committee report Lyndsy Denk (Falmouth), Ellen Parent (at large)

For tournament hosts, Ellen and I will continue to divide and conquer on building your tournaments in Tabroom. We’ll be in touch with each of you as the season progresses. I know I’ll be trying to populate the system sooner than later to avoid a crunch later in December. Ellen will likely take most/all of January through February, except for the NSDA tournaments.

For NSDA members, L. Denk will send out reminders for how to link rosters on both the NSDA site and Tabroom. That’s key for autoposting points.

Reminder and encouragement to have:

  • Students create and link Tabroom accounts
  • Judges create and link Tabroom accounts

This is key for the online balloting function. Tournaments run faster if judges are adjudicating online. And students generally would have to wait for you to download and deliver ballots if they don’t have an account to find them independently. Best practice: Don’t let a student register for a tournament without a linked Tabroom account.

Smith: Does Tabroom have a training program?

  • Yes, but maybe not as robust as you’re looking for, but there is a forum.

Melanson: In the Tournament Director Checklist, the table of rooms needed was very helpful.

  • L. Denk reviewed tournament director checklist and MFA site orientation.

Pelletier: A push to encourage you to enter phonetic pronunciations in Tabroom.

Thank you to Sam, our third committee member, who provides deep tech support.

2019-2020 Calendar finalization

Featured objectives of activity:

  • State Tournament location
  • Middle school tournament: L. Denk encourages bumping up to March.
    • Melanson: Can middle schoolers participate in Big Questions?
      • Pelletier: We can, if it’s a fundraiser tournament. If we offer Big Questions as a national qualifier, it’s only high school. FYI Big Questions: It’s a newer category from the NSDA that lends to any public speaking competitor.
      • Melanson: Clarification: Can we use Big Questions as the middle school event?
      • Parent: If we’re using middle school teams as feeders, would we want to use an event that doesn’t directly apply to the Maine season.

Smith: Do you have estimates on judge and student populations for a typical tournament?

  • L. Denk: I have to digest that data based on past tournaments in Tabroom.

Russell: Can you clarify what a novice tournament means?

  • Dodge: It offers a limited number and type of events for first time competitors.
  • L. Denk: Veteran competitors can also judge.
  • Hughes-King: We would promote an all-in Congressional Debate so novices can see what’s happening. It tends to work better. Veterans won’t be eligible for awards.
  • L. Denk: In recent history we’ve offered Prose Reading, Poetry Reading, Oratorical Declamation, Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas, and Congressional Debate (as an all levels event).
  • Smith: I think it’s ridiculous that ODec doesn’t align as novice and limits by grade.
  • Russell: Would a student qualify as a novice if they went to a tournament and balked at delivering a speech?
    • L. Denk: It’s host discretion, but I would encourage a host to be accommodating for the novice tournament. This is about providing a low-risk experience to see how a tournament goes so students can gain comfort. It’s not about competition, winning, or strength of their speeches.

Haskell: I’m in for hosting Big Questions as long as the population is up for competing.

  • L. Denk: Reminder that you do not need to be a member of NSDA to reap the benefits of Big Questions. That said, I loved it. My students loved it.
  • Robinson: Affirm.

Bartlett: For the LD resolution for Sept/Oct it’s generally recommended that we use the November topic if there is only one event in Sept/Oct. What’s the plan for the LD resolution then?

  • Pelletier: As long as Lincoln Academy commits to the Sept/Oct resolution, I’m willing to use it for the Bangor tournament. Otherwise I’ll use the November.

Smith: I’m slightly tentative on hosting altogether, but more tentative on hosting an all events tournament.

  • Giguere: Waterville is the next closest, but we have a theater event that weekend, so we can’t split the tournament on November 23.

Robinson: FYI: The Poland middle school is in the middle of renovations. We might be short a few rooms. The elementary school down the street is an option. We could also restrict entries.

  • Curry: Can Congress please not be in the elementary school to avoid small chairs?

Sep 13 Coaches meeting

Oct 5 SAT
19 Lincoln Academy (Novice)
26 Bangor

Nov 2 SAT Yarmouth (Congressional Debate)
9 Harvest Hoorah @ Falmouth (all events)
16 Big Questions @ Cheverus (south), Erskine Academy? (north)
23 Lawrence (definitely Speech, all events?)
30 Thanksgiving

Dec 7 SAT Poland
14 Kennebunk
21 Christmas

Jan 4 New Years Day (Wed) Speech and Congress @ Lewiston
11 Winter Blast @ Cape Elizabeth
18 NSDA Congressional Debate Qualifiers @ State House
25 States @ Lewiston

Feb 1 District Music Snow date NSDA Congress/States
8 NSDA Speech and Debate Qualifiers @ Greely
15 Start of break NCFL Qualifiers @ Poland
22 Break
29 Snow date for NSDA Speech and Debate / NCFL Qualifiers @ new venue

May 15 Coaches meeting @ Lewiston

Sep 11 Coaches meeting @ Lewiston

Old Business

Speech population decline

Smith: Looking to see if this is a trend or a blip is important. I agree that two years is not necessarily indicative of a trend.

Robinson: I predict it’s a trend. A few years ago we adjusted our array of events (ex. Eliminating Ensemble because we didn’t have the enrollment). That said, I think it’s an trend across all electives. For the first time ever I’m officiating 8-man football games—unheard of. This is a nationwide problem. Options: Look at our events to evaluate. But I think there’s the more important factors of divided attention, digital revolution.

Smith: A potential solution to recruiting schools (not necessarily individual students) is a mentorship, active recruitment program.

Giguere: Have schools dropped out for lack of coaches?

  • Trask: That’s part of it, as is low participation in existing teams.

Robinson: We’ve done decent outreach. NSDA offers resources to support outreach. As soon as you hit the question of money, there’s the issue of starting a team. Also, if you don’t have principal buy-in, nothing will help a team take off. If we can bring the Spear competition back, that’s a feeder to promote teams.

Parent: Is there a way to bring more principals into the fold? Thinking about Orono’s success over the last 15-plus years. In the early 2000s it was nearly non-existent, now it’s a reliable team, albeit small, but successful. No one in the communities and schools have any idea what we do. How do we engage our community better to build demand?

Robinson: My superintendent really got into giving out awards at my tournament. Yes, you have to toot your own horn. An idea for NSDA Congress: Send an invite to principals via MPA. They could get contact hours as administrators by participating in our tournaments.

Trask: We have a newer city council member who judged. She’s required to post to social media every day as a councilor and she raved about her experience. If you have semi-public figures as judges—judges, local politicians, city employees—those are avenues to promote.

Hughes-King: As a competitor, we hosted awareness events at the public library. We ended up debating two sides of healthcare (simpler times) to foster public awareness.

L. Denk: Senior living residents eat this stuff up and then tell their families.

Grasso: So much of what we do is somewhat private. They go to tournaments. How can we open up the events?

Spilecki: We have hosted a Speech night with invitations to faculty, family. It’s a ticketed event that promotes presentation to the community.

  • L. Denk: Falmouth hosts a showcase that is coordinated by a senior or two as a senior project.
  • Melanson: We have an NFL night with samples of events plus recognition of NSDA membership level. The second half after intermission is a tournament simulation. There’s a reception afterward with a donation basket.

Dodge: What encourages families to attend sporting events? They know the timing. Can we nail down tournament timing, especially at the State tournament?

  • Smith: We really need Tabroom.com to cooperate.

Robinson: One of the struggles is to accomplish a lot of these ideas without adding to our already overflowing plates. There are small steps to make tournaments more welcoming. It would also be nice to have a publicity person.

Russell: I’ve seen the auditorium used for events.

  • L. Denk: Tabulation staff could logistically make a single room schedulable for whichever event is ready to start.

Giguere: As teachers, we can be encouraging alumni to return as coaches.

Hughes-King: Is it possible to have an alumni communications?

  • L. Denk: We have the technology infrastructure to make it possible. It would be a great task for a promotional volunteer to take on.

New Business

Open/changing coach positions

Medomak: Jacob Newcomb is now a Bonny Eagle and trying to get something off the ground.

Russell: Can I absorb North Yarmouth Academy?

  • Smith: There are MPA guidelines to walk you through coaching more than one team at a time. They’re not on the web site, but you can email our MPA rep.
  • Robinson: Sometimes there are hoops, sometimes shared transportation costs. Check with your own school to see if they agree to it.
  • Curry: I was the North Yarmouth coach for awhile. We had an agreement that students to attend the Greely practices if NYA paid.

Richmond: Kelly Antonson is now working at Cheverus.

Brunswick: Tom Sheehy has stepped down. Tom said there is a lead on a teacher who might be interested in at least an advisor. Brian heard from a Bowdoin freshman who is very enthusiastic.

  • L. Denk: Dodge, I’d like to partner to warm hand-off.

Casco Bay: L. Denk received a message from Samatha Gottwalt who expressed interest in judging/volunteering/coaching. We’re currently in touch with the Casco Bay AD to pursue next steps.

Lincoln Academy: Matt Leland is now teaching at Bangor HS. B. Dodge heard that this position has been filled by Kathleen Halm.

Maranacook: Sudden opening.

  • Parent: Anyone have central Maine contacts?
  • Hebert: I have a contact at Colby College and will send out some feelers.

Orono: Parent heard that Melissa St. Peter is officially taking over.

Cape Elizabeth: Dick Mullen retired and Lisa Melanson has been promoted to head coach. Jack Melanson (spouse) is incoming as Assistant Speech Coach.

Falmouth: Jessie Grearson had to step away from coaching for personal reasons. The position should be posted soon, but we hope to fill it with Ellen Parent, MFA treasurer.

Edward Little: There is interest.

  • Pelletier: The person I was in touch with no longer seems to be employed.
  • Melanson: Does EL have an AmeriCorp rep interested?
  • Spilecki: I’ll reach out to former coach Heidi McCurdy for information.

John Bapst: Now has a team via a rising freshmen who Pelletier helped in middle school. Scott Burgess (teacher) coaching.

Presque Isle: There is a new coach, Paul Ballerstein.

  • Melanson: Is there a way to provide housing to Presque Isle?
  • Parent: Michele Adams from York I think has tried to do this.
  • Grasso: Thornton has facilities. We’re not hosting this year, so that doesn’t quite help. We can look into this for another year.
  • Adams addendum via email: Presque Isle previously had a board policy prohibiting students from staying in host homes.

York: Michele Adams is taking at least the year off to be a grandmother (congratulations!). Melanie Kyer has two York teachers (edit 10/8/19) helping her coach.

Canada team: There is a New Brunswick school interested in participating. The coach does Model UN, parliamentary debate and would like to visit our tournaments. Officers and moderators recommended they look at Congressional Debate.

Trinity Christian Academy (Sanford area?): They paid NSDA dues last year. Pelletier emailed headmaster and has not heard back.

  • Smith: They’ve previously registered with the Maine Drama Festival and disappeared, too.

Winslow: Has a bunch of student and adult interest. Smith is working on support.

Robinson: One thing I’m going to raise with MPA rep is to encourage principals to actually hire coaches formally. Volunteers leave us open to losing teams.

Parent: For the schools that have coach positions already in the budget, someone should email those principals to remind them to post the position and offer support to a new coach.

Middle school support

L. Denk: Over this last season we discovered that many of the middle school teams in the state are active around the same timeframe as high school. We ended up canceling the Maine Middle School Tournament because most teams had disbanded for the school year. I have two suggestions:

  • Move our tournament to March-ish.
  • Start an email network (list serv) for middle schools like the one we all use.

Middle school activity:

  • Alison Hawkes at CE MS speech and debate.
  • Laura Mike at Yarmouth MS
  • North Yarmouth
  • Stearns JH
  • Jennifer Bohmer at Doughty School in Bangor
  • Jeremy Stein at Falmouth Middle School
  • TBD at Friends School of Portland
  • Brad Conant and Cassie Quinn at Dirigo

Melanson and Hughes-King agree to partner with L. Denk to support ideas.

Spears Contest

Robinson: Years ago we had a rotating speech competition. The winner would receive a scholarship from the Spear trust fund. The trust ran dry more than a decade ago and we had to shut down the competition. The trust didn’t disappear, but has rebuilt interest and thus funds. This competition often would happen at an MPA luncheon, which offered exposure and outreach. Our MPA rep has expressed interest in reviving. We could award our State champion in a rotating event the scholarship plus the opportunity to present at the annual luncheon. I also recommend MFA representatives attend the April luncheon to answer questions and support the presentation.

L. Denk: When K. Deveau was treasurer, I thought she said that there’s plenty of money.

  • Parent: Yes, there’s a good $30,000. Some of it is coming from a company that donates to the trust.
  • Robinson: There used to hold a reception, pay judges, and have a whole event. I used or help organize.

Curry: I remember judging this event years ago and receiving a check to reimburse for travel.

L. Denk: I like the idea of making this part of States because (a) we’re clearly struggling to put in the time and effort to host the Maine Middle School tournament, so this borrows off an existing day and (b) it supports the group’s desire to involve the MPA more in our outreach needs.

Pelletier: The prestige of naming it the Spear competition is valuable.

Robinson: Next steps are that I’ll talk to MPA rep (Mike) to propose and make this happen.

L. Denk: Is this limited to Speech?

Robinson: This has historically been Speech and I think it out to stay that way for audience attention. I recommend HI, DI, Duo, Oratory.

  • Smith: Add OW to the mix?
  • Robinson: Not with the current volatility of subject matter.
  • Pelletier: POI? (General murmuring of no, not ready, too complicated.)
  • L. Denk: We could set the cycle of events as recommendation.
  • Robinson: I’d like to start with HI.
  • L. Denk: If the State champ can’t attend the luncheon, who’s next? Is it the runner up or the next event’s State champ.
  • Robinson: The runner up. MPA likes to know what to expect, so sticking to the same event is important.
  • L. Denk: Is the scholarship awarded by champion or who can attend the luncheon? (general consensus on champion)

Giguere: How much is the scholarship.

  • Robinson: That’s something to decide.
  • L. Denk: The amount can vary based on availability of funds.
  • Parent: The interest is $500 per year. We can’t touch the principle.
  • Robinson: Added expenses of trophy, travel to luncheon and meal stipend. That means a $250 scholarship plus the expenses is currently attainable.

Dwyer: Is there a way to involve middle schoolers?

  • Robinson: This has been a high school scholarship. It sounds like what you’re really asking about is 

Action item: Update the States Handbook with the cycle of events so we don’t loose sight of this for awards.

Motion: MFA will award a $250 scholarship under the supervision of the MFA’s VP to the winner of the preselcted Speech category at States in memory of Lydia Spears and an additional $250 for expenses  for that individual to attend the MPA spring luncheon (Curry, Smith). Unanimous.

Dale Denno memorial

Motion: Recommend to the Maine NSDA District Committee that we name any NSDA Congressional Debate final held in the State House in Augusta named the Dale Denno NSDA Congressional Debate Finals (Curry, Hughes-King).

Curry: Dale Denno was Greely HS’s debate coach when I was hired. I replaced him. He was always interested in Greely students, making sure they were involved in political processes. He

“…graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University. It was there that he met his future wife, Diane Dahlke. They lived in Freeville, N.Y., while Dale attended Cornell Law School, from which he received his Juris Doctorate degree.After law school they moved to Connecticut, where Dale worked in a private law firm and then at Cigna. While vacationing in Maine, Dale decided that this was the place he truly wanted to live and work. He applied to UNUM in Portland where he became a vice president and associate general counsel. Later he worked at SPX Communications Technology in Raymond, Maine, as Director of Contracts. From 2002-2006 he was an assistant attorney general for the state of Maine. Eventually he became director of the Office of Family Independence for the Maine Department of Human Services.When Dale retired in 2013 he found his passion for politics. Twice he won the Maine House seat for District 45. He was active in the Cumberland community throughout his residence there serving on the MSAD 51 School Board, the town Aging in Place Committee, the Cumberland Democratic Committee, and was a member of the Lions Club. During his retirement he was also an adjunct professor of business law at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, and volunteered as an English teacher at Learning Works in Portland.” Portland Press Herald

Dale also was a member of the local Lion’s Club actively recruiting students to compete in Speak Out. He was instrumental in having the NSDA finals at the State House last year. Unfortunately in between the time of securing our event and our Spring meeting, he died of lung cancer. We think his last official act in Augusta was to petition to help me secure the building for the NSDA event.

Pelletier: My understanding is that the legislature is reticent to offer their space. They were actually very happy to have us there. Can we amend the motion to “recommend” that this be done because I think it’s an NSDA decison for the Maine NSDA committee to decide, although I don’t think the committee would decline.

Giguere: Going forward, how will students know who Dale was an why this event is named so.

  • Curry: I would like to invite his widow and/or other family survivors for a speech during the day’s competition.
  • Parent: We can also include it in the invitation, which would help keep the history.
  • Hughes-King: Make sure it’s part of the morning’s briefing.

L. Denk: Point of information, if this motion passes, what’s next?

  • Pelletier: I think the committee can discuss and make a decision over email. If agreed, the committee would follow through.

Voting: Unanimous.

Novice speech classification

Smith: I would like the novice requirements to be consistent, either freshmen-sophomore only or first year speaker.

Robinson: ODec was aligned as an age-based event with NCFL guidelines. In the other novice events, you could technically have a junior compete as a novice in Prose or Poetry. Up until we limited the age, we had a lot of upperclassmen and veterans who were State champions.

Trask: I don’t think it’s necessary to align categories to age restriction. If my upperclassmen hadn’t been able to do novice events, it likely would’ve scared them away. I’d advocate for status quo.

Robinson: Overall, the intent with novice events is to move talented speakers out of the novice level, even in their novice year.

Smith: I am not making a motion.

1:50 Motion to adjournment (Pelletier, Robinson) unanimous