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LAHS speech and debate coach earns fourth diamond

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By Kirsten Laskey

Noel Trujillo, speech and debate coach for the Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers, has been teaching the art of talking for 34 years and was recently recognized for his efforts.The National Forensic League awarded him a fourth diamond.Trujillo explained every time students compete in a speech and debate event, they receive points. If they win a competition, students earn six points; if they lose an event, they receive three points.Coaches also earn points. Trujillo said for every one-point students get, the coach will receive one-tenth of a point.When a coach earns 1,500 points, he or she receives a diamond. When points total 3,000, the coach will receive a second diamond and a third diamond is awarded when points total 6,000. A fourth diamond is earned when a coach earns 10,000 points.Trujillo said it took him 30 years to get a fourth diamond. In addition, his students have obtained more than 100,000 points.“I was surprised to learn in the entire history of the National Forensic League, 159 have ever made 10,000 points,” Trujillo said. The league was formed in 1925.Trujillo said he will receive a plaque for his accomplishment; usually the plaques are awarded during the national tournament in June.What has helped him achieve this milestone? “Perseverance is one – probably a belief in what I’m doing,” he said.Trujillo added, “I think it was one of my goals (to get a fourth diamond) ee it was one goal I set for myself, if I made 10,000 points, that would be good.”From the very beginning, Trujillo said he wanted to be a speech teacher. He got his degrees in speech. In addition to belonging to National Forensic League, Trujillo said he is a member of the New Mexico Activities Association.During his time at LAHS, Trujillo has sent several students to the national competition with great results. Shimon Whiteson, a 1996 graduate, earned a second place at the national competition while Henry Wung received a third place.This year, “we’re doing extremely well,” Trujillo said. “We won a few tournaments.”Now that he has achieved his first goal, Trujillo said, “my goal is to continue and support speech for the benefit of youngsters.”