I’d like to nominate Ms. Duncan who teaches psychology, speech and debate at Lone Peak High School. Ms. Duncan has coached debate for over 20 years. One of the students that she coached was my daughter Emma. Ms. Duncan spent countless hours coaching her and the rest of the team. In her senior year, Emma and her partner took “state” in policy debate. Much of the credit goes to Ms. Duncan.
In addition to being her coach, Ms. Duncan became my daughter’s friend. Emma’s mother passed away when Emma was seven. Ms. Duncan was someone she knew she could go to when she needed advice, a second opinion or just to talk things out. Since my daughter had a habit of volunteering me to help out at school, I spent quite a bit of time judging, chaperoning, and helping out with fundraisers. I had several years to get to know Ms. Duncan as well, and was impressed with how she interacted with her students and handled the pressures of getting them ready for competition
I was so impressed that toward the end of Emma’s senior year, I asked Ms. Duncan out. Of course at that time, her name wasn’t Ms. Duncan, but we took care of that several months later. Now that we are married, I have an even better appreciation for the time and effort she puts in to coaching her students. I joke that during the debate season, I’m a debate widower.
We rarely go anywhere where we don’t run into a former student who recognizes her and comes over and gives her a hug and tells her thanks. I’ve seen the joy and satisfaction she gets when she see her “kids” succeed, not only in debate, but in life. I appreciate the time she took with my daughter, and since I know she is doing the same for her current students, I guess I can share.