BHS forensics team wins Leading Chapter Award

Recently, the high school Forensics team at Brookhaven High School earned the 2013-2014 Leading Chapter Award in the Magnolia District of Mississippi for outstanding accomplishment.

At a recent Brookhaven School District board meeting, Superintendent Ben Cox announced the award to the board of trustees. Board members were quick to offer their congratulations.

“So in essence we’re state champs,” Stan Patrick said after Cox explained the award.

Carol Clanton, teacher and leader of the forensics team at BHS, has taught Forensics for 30 years. Her first years were at Bailey Magnate (now known as Bailey APAC Middle School) in Jackson. For the past 21 years, she has been at BHS. She participated in cross-examination contests in college but was not introduced to forensics until she started teaching.

“I had never seen anything like it…It’s amazing,” she stated on seeing her first forensics tournament.

Clanton has been passionately teaching her students ever since.

Clanton stated her favorite experience out of all the years of Forensics competition is always watching a student learn and grow.

“I like to help kids who don’t know who or what they want to be decide where they want to go in life,” said Clanton.

Clanton added she has lost count of how many times in the past 20 years a student on her team has won a state championship, but this is her fourth time to receive the Leading Chapter Award at BHS. The Association only gives out the award to a limited number of chapters at 5-year intervals, and Clanton’s team has won an award every year nominations were dolled out.

The award is given based on student participation and is the highest honor the National Speech & Debate Association can bestow on high school students and their teachers.

Over 3,000 member schools across the nation have forensics teams, but only 110 out of the 3,000 received the Leading Chapter Award.

The award represents hours of preparation and practice for oral examinations and contests as well as 409 members and degrees over 20 years.

Of Clanton’s time at BHS she remarked she held a self-driven promise she would keep less kids from driving aimlessly on “the Boulevard.” Clanton has kept her promise and then some.

Clanton boasts one of the most successful and well-respected teams in her district. Her teams have competed against some of the top school in the state such as Madison Central High and Saint Andrews Episcopal School and have a reputation amongst other high school teams for being well liked.

“I’ve been very lucky,” she shared about the talent she has taught in Brookhaven.

In Clanton’s letter, the Association congratulated her on her remarkable achievement, “Hundreds of students have been taught communication, analysis, leadership and social skills. The Leading Chapter Award serves as an indication of your relentless dedication to these students and to speech and debate education. Your efforts truly embody our mission of giving youth a voice.”

Of her many awards and honors in the field of forensics and the National Speech & Debate Association, Clanton remarked the way she measures her success is by the success of her students, not only the classroom, but after graduation as well.

Of her third Diamond Award, an honor given to Forensic coaches for longevity and excellence, Clanton simply stated, “I have been in the business a while, and I have had some good kids.”