Rogers coaches final speech contest

Adam Larck
Dunlap Middle School students Emma McMillian, left, and Lily Ullenius perform a part of their duet, titled “Bedtime Story.”

After more than 20 years of coaching the Dunlap Middle School speech team, Carole Rogers has coached her last speech contest.

Rogers said she has been coaching since the mid-80s, before the middle schools were split up.

“I started by myself and built up the program until it got to the point where I said I needed somebody and I got an assistant,” Rogers said. “Finally, we built it up to where we needed a third assistant.”

Eventually, there were four coaches before the two schools formed. Now, each speech team has three.

Throughout the years, Rogers said that the practice that she started using is the same that she uses today.

“Our kids, because they are in so much, they are assigned a time,” she said. “They come for 15 minutes a week, that’s it. It’s amazing what we can get done in practice.”

She added that the various groups have been very kind in letting the students practice speech in between other practices.

This year, Rogers said most of the students did duets, along with a few small groups and solos.

Throughout the years, she said that it is the students who take on the odds that she really remembers.

“I had one young man who had a terrible stutter,” Rogers said. “Once he learned a script, I could tell you exactly where he was going to stutter. He always did duets. He was a personable young guy. “

She said she had another autistic student that performed a solo because all of his brothers and sisters had done speech.

“It’s those kind of kids that you remember more than anything,” she said. “It’s the ones that really overcome some odd that come to do this.”

Besides coaching speech, Rogers is also the eighth-grade literature teacher this year.

She started out as a librarian, and has also taught seventh- and eighth-grade language arts.

However, that will all end in May.

“I am out of here in May,” Rogers said. “I am done. I will have had 38 years of teachers and I figure I’m done.”

After retiring, she said that she may do some traveling.

She also said that people have already been telling her, “Oh, you’re going to come sub.”

“We’ll see about that,” she said.

She also added that she will come back to help judge the speech contest, but will let Mary Nelson, one of the assistant coaches this year, handle the coaching responsibilities next year.