• Jan. 3, 2024

    Speech & Debate coach earns Diamond Award

    Mr. Ben EdwardsUpper St. Clair High School Speech & Debate Coach Ben Edwards has earned his fourth Diamond Award from the National Speech & Debate Association. To qualify for this recognition, Mr. Edwards earned more than 90,000 points throughout his coaching career that spans 20+ years.

    Since 1925, the National Speech & Debate Association has been recognizing student and coach achievements in speech and debate. Coaches earn points in the national honorary through team participation, student achievement, public service and leadership work. The Diamond Award is one of the highest honors a coach can achieve as a part of the National Speech & Debate Association.

    “Our Diamond Award winners provide access to the life changing benefits of speech and debate for thousands of students,” said National Speech & Debate Executive Director J. Scott Wunn. “We are proud to recognize these educators for their service, and thank them for their hard work.”

    To earn a Diamond Award, a coach must be a member of the National Speech & Debate Association for at least five years. Coaches earn additional awards with more points earned in the Honor Society. A coach who attains 15,000 points is awarded a first Diamond; they receive a second Diamond for 30,000 points, a third for 45,000 points, and so on. Five years must pass between each Diamond Award.

    The Diamond Award winners, including Mr. Edwards, will be recognized at the 2024 National Speech & Debate Tournament, which is set for June 16-21, 2024, in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Mr. Edwards has been involved with high school speech and debate since 2001 and has served as an elected board member for the Pennsylvania High School Speech League (PHSSL) since 2017. In addition, he serves as the co-chair for PHSSL District 3 as well as a board member for the National Speech & Debate Association and National Catholic Forensic League Pittsburgh District.

    A member of the Upper St. Clair High School faculty since 2011, Mr. Edwards teaches IB History and AP/IB Economics within the school’s social studies department. In addition, he serves as the faculty sponsor for the Asian Student Union and Multicultural Club, co-chair for Upper St. Clair’s Academic Hall of Fame, and various roles within the school’s athletics department.

    Upper St. Clair High School’s Speech & Debate team has been recognized as one of the Top 100 in the nation by the National Speech & Debate Association annually for at least the last five years. In the 2022-23 school year, Upper St. Clair ranked 37 out of more than 3,000 schools nationwide. Last spring, the USCHS Speech & Debate team won the Pennsylvania High School Speech League State Championship for the fourth time since 2017.

    Fellow Speech & Debate Coach Dave Watson earned his second Diamond Award in 2022. Mr. Watson has served as an English teacher at Upper St. Clair High School since 2006.