Like athletics, MCHS activities offer students chance to excel outside classroom |

Like athletics, MCHS activities offer students chance to excel outside classroom

Darian Warden

Moffat County High School English teacher Casey Kilpatrick stands in front of an awards case for the speech and debate team. Head coach of both boys golf and speech and debate, Kilpatrick knows the ins and outs of both athletics and activities.

Many high school students spend their high school careers dedicated to athletics, spending countless hours after school and on weekends bettering themselves in their sport of choice.

But a sometimes over looked counterpart to athletics are the activities students also commit their time to.

Casey Kilpatrick, an English teacher at Moffat County High School, is the head coach of boy's golf team as well as the coach and moderator for the speech and debate team.

Given his involved with both programs, Kilpatrick has a good perspective on the similarities and differences between athletics and activities.

For starters, Kilpatrick said there's not really an off-season for speech and debate. He said some serious debaters go to summer camps, some in Wyoming while others even attend debate camp at the University of Kansas, but go on their own dime.

"It depends on the student's level of commitment whether or not they go," Kilpatrick said. "For golf, we encourage them to play as much as they can during the off-season."

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But as for whether students in athletics or those in activities spend more time preparing in the off-season, Kilpatrick said it just depends on the student.

"If the student is passionate about it and if they feel they are talented at whatever activity then of course they are going to spend more time on it," Kilpatrick said.

As for eligibility requirements, Kilpatrick said he holds his students in speech and debate to a higher standard.

"Being ineligible is not an option, just because of the nature of the program," Kilpatrick said. "If I'm going to advocate that I have the best and brightest students who have incredible work ethic, who are intelligent and communicate well, there's no reason why they should be below a C in any of their courses."

For his students participating in golf, Kilpatrick said he abides by the district's current standard where a student may have one F and remain eligible to participate.

Then there are those students who choose to participate in both athletics and activities. Kilpatrick said he has two students who do both golf and speech and debate.

He said it makes sense for some natural carry-over, especially when it's the same coach for both, noting students who participate in both cross country and track.

And although plenty of students participate in athletics and activities, Kilpatrick said the cultures surrounding the two have their differences.

"As far as the culture of athletics in general at the high school, I think right now, the culture is a little bit flat lined," Kilpatrick said, adding it's been a while since the high school offered a winning culture. "It's hard to say the culture is one of excitement when we're not winning, but it's not one of apathy either. We still really value sports and their participation because we value what they teach the kids."

Kilpatrick said the activities such as speech and debate have established a winning culture, but said he feels they're sometimes overlooked for what they bring to the students and what the students do.

"Speech and debate is a winning culture, and while we strive for that in all of our athletics, it's hard to say that it really exists," Kilpatrick said. "I think Jeff Simon is doing what he can to really build this winning culture, and really working with groups around the community to build some excitement, and also with parents and players to establish really nice winning programs."

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or