Lincoln High debate coach earns national honor

The National Speech & Debate Association recently honored the Lincoln High School debate coach for her dedication to improving awareness and willingness to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities.

The organization named Victoria Freeman the recipient of the 2021 James M. Copeland High School Coach of the Year Award. Freeman also was honored with a formal resolution at the May 25 Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

Freeman said she was both excited and humbled to win the award. 

“It is great to see the efforts and work of so many people to make speech and debate a more inclusive space acknowledged in such a profound way. I wholeheartedly believe that as a community, we can rise to confront the challenges in front of us today - not only of accessibility for those with disabilities but also the issues of sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry within the speech and debate activity and society more broadly,” said Freeman, who teaches science at Lincoln High. “The thing I love about speech and debate, more than anything else, is that it empowers students with the skills to communicate and advocate effectively.”

Lincoln Southwest High School Debate Coach Toni Heimes said Freeman’s knowledge of tournament logistics and her work to transition competitions to an online setting during the pandemic have been invaluable.

But, Heimes added, “Most importantly, Victoria's work with equity and inclusion in the debate space has made her a crucial voice in our community.”

Published: June 2, 2021, Updated: June 2, 2021