4th Diamond NSDA

Kalie Hiller, Journalist

Imagine coaching for twenty years; the heat of the spotlights, the stress of competing, the nerves filling the room as students present their speeches. 90,000 coaching points, revising somewhere near 30,000 speeches, too many students to count as they’re coached to personal perfection.

For Cheyenne East High School Speech and Debate coach Ashley Schulz, this is a reality.

Schulz was presented with the 4th Diamond NSDA award for Speech and Debate, awarded for her twenty years of coaching.

“Basically what that means is you get a diamond for every five years that you coach,” Schulz explained. “If you have successful students then they earn points for coaches. So it means I’ve been coaching for a long time and have had successful students.”

Honestly, it’s about the students. I love seeing their lives changing through this activity and just teaching them to use their voices to make the changes they want to see. I love it.

— Ashley Schulz

Schulz shared that she wasn’t even expecting to be in Speech and Debate long enough to win this award.

“I first started coaching Speech and Debate in 2001, and I never expected to still be here all these years later so it’s kind of cool to be recognized for how long I’ve done it.”

Schulz was in Speech and Debate when she attended East High School. This is what led her to return to the school for teaching and eventually take over as the coach for Speech and Debate.

“I actually competed at East when I was in school for Michael Starks, who totally changed my life,” shared Schulz. “I remember very vividly when I graduated college and came back from the Peace Corps. He took me to Chili’s and asked me to be one of his assistant coaches that year.”

For Schulz, Speech and Debate is about the kids working at something life changing. As an East High School English teacher and Speech and Debate coach for twenty years making a difference in kids’ lives, she definitely deserved her 4th Diamond award.