Speech coach wins top award

Claire Andrus, Mott-Regent’s speech coach, was awarded a top honor at the Class B State Speech Meet in Jamestown on April 23. Andrus was named State Class B Coach of The Year. She had previously won the Region X Speech Coach of the Year and was automatically named a finalist for the state award.

By COLE BENZ
Herald Editor

Claire Andrus, Mott-Regent’s speech coach, was awarded a top honor at the Class B State Speech Meet in Jamestown on April 23. Andrus was named State Class B Coach of The Year. She had previously won the Region X Speech Coach of the Year and was automatically named a finalist for the state award.

When she heard her name called, she said her initial reaction kind of stopped her.

“I was just kind of stunned for a moment,” Andrus said.

A very good friend announced the award, so she got a little “teary eyed,” she said.

When asked if the award shows the success of her students, she agreed.

“Oh I think so,” Andrus said. “I’ve been lucky enough to have an awful lot of good kids, especially these last few years here.”

In her opinion, her team competes in one of the more difficult regions in the state, not to mention the fact that during many meets they have to go up against larger Class A schools, such as Dickinson. So she knows her students have great work ethic and dedication.

Speech, Andrus said, can also have a positive effect on other aspects of the students’ lives in the future.

“Public speaking is something you’re going to have to do no matter what line of work you are in, you have to be able to communicate,” Andrus said.

Andrus wanted to thank all of the parents of her students. Between transporting them for practices and assisting with fundraisers, the help has been very much appreciated

“Nobody appreciates [the support] more than I do,” Andrus said. “The parental support has been awesome.”

Andrus won the award in her 29th and final year of speech coaching, she is retiring at the end of this school year. She never participated in speech during her high school years, but slowly got involved in college. She was a double-major in English and Theater, and because of her background in oral interpretation, she was asked to judge a meet her junior year at Dickinson State University.

“I actually fell into it,” Andrus said.

She has coached speech in every one of her years as an educator, and credits some of her instructors in college with pointing her in this direction.

“I was lucky enough to have some very, very excellent speech and drama teachers when I was in college at Dickinson State,” she said.

Andrus teaches sophomore, junior and senior English and teaches the dual credit college composition class this year at Mott-Regent. Now she said she is going to have to find out what she wants to do after retirement this year.

“Now I have to decide what I want to be when I grow up, because I guess i’m grown up now,” she said.

Andrus will be relocating this summer, so she won’t have any more affiliation with the Mott-Regent Speech team. Her assistant, Bridget Greff, will be taking over the program.

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