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Spotlight on Los Alamos: Noel Trujillo praised for talent and high intellect

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By Carol A. Clark

Honored as one of only 159 speech coaches in the nation to earn the privilege of wearing a fourth diamond in his lapel pin, Noel Trujillo is called “an inspiration in the field of speech” by the National Forensic League (NFL). The NFL was founded in 1925, making the Los Alamos High School English teacher part of a rare group of achievers who have attained an impressive total of 10,000 points in the NFL speech program.“It actually took all 34 years of being a member of the NFL to earn this achievement,” Trujillo said. “This fulfills one of the goals I set out to achieve when I first began teaching.”Superintendent James Anderson described Trujillo’s award as a “significant achievement ... Noel has been here a long time,” Anderson said. “He works hard for the kids and we’re very proud of him.”                              Los Alamos High School Principal Grace Brown also praised Trujillo during an interview Monday. “Noel is so dedicated,” Brown said. “Speech is one of the year-round activities and I always think we are fortunate to have someone who puts so much into his work. He loves it and the kids love it and they love him, too.” Trujillo is only the third speech coach in the entire history of LAHS. He described the best part of his job as “getting to interact with young minds that are still in the process of developing who they are and what they want to be”.“Speech is one of the areas where you can really see progress,” he said. “One of my favorite sayings is ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,’ and when they join speech and debate, they are taking that first step.”The most challenging part of his job, Trujillo said, is making students want to take that first step.Trujillo began teaching at LAHS in 1990. He said he was initially hired to primarily teach speech and now he mainly teaches English along with speech and debate. He teaches argumentation and debate for grades nine through 12. The course is designed to introduce and promote interscholastic competition in value and policy debate. Basic educational objectives include critical listening and thinking skills, note-taking, logic, research and writing, effective presentational skills, advocacy and cross-examination. Students in the class may compete interscholastically in local speech tournaments.Trujillo also teaches speech communication to ninth- through 12th-grade students. Trujillo explained the course places major emphasis on helping students overcome their fear of public speaking as well as teaching them to express themselves creatively and effectively through speaking with purposes to inform, entertain or persuade. Students have the opportunity to prepare and deliver speeches and to refine delivery skills, he said. Emphasis is given to group dynamics, assuming leadership in a group, leading meetings, and increasing group efficiency.Trujillo will receive special recognition June 14-20 at the Lincoln Financial Group/NFL National Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., for his devotional dedication in training effective leadership skills.Trujillo and his family live in Chimayo. He has been married to retired librarian Gloria since 1971. The couple has two children, Alyssa, 25, who holds a master’s degree in teaching and is in her first job, which is teaching third grade at Barranca. Their son Alan, 17, is a senior at LAHS.