Fugler receives diamond award

John Fugler teaches class

Kaitlyn Barrington

John Fugler teaches class

Excitement builds as he waits his turn to approach the microphone and say his name.  “J.P. Fugler from Lindale High School”  is what the crowd will hear this summer when he receives his first diamond award for excellence in coaching debate. Through hard work and dedication, Fugler has achieved this award thanks to the work of his students.

Debate coach J.P. Fugler will receive his first diamond award this summer at the National Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. This award is given to coaches who have been teaching for at least five years and have gained 1,500 coaching points during those years.

“I hit my fifth year just a few weeks ago so I will get my actual award this summer presented by the national speech and debate association,” Fugler said. “For every point that a student earns I get one-tenth of that point and I have accumulated  roughly 2,800 points.”

Before coming to teach at Lindale, Fugler taught at Van High School where he earned most of his merit points in competitions at which his students excelled. These earlier achievements, along with the tournaments his new students have placed in, have contributed to achieving the diamond award.

“My students have won about 4,500 debate rounds in all of my five years of teaching,” Fugler said. “I was very excited to find out that I received this award.”

The students help more than anything to get their coach to this point in time. This award highlights the academic value of speech and debate activities within school systems that wouldn’t be possible without the students.

“It’s physically not possible to get here without my students,” Fugler said. “[The diamond award] is an accumulation of all the students I taught, so it’s kinda an award that every student had contributed to.”

Fugler was hired this year after the retirement of beloved debate coach, Janice Caldwell.  Fugler was a student of Caldwell’s and is continuing the tradition of excellence the Lindale debate program is known for.

“I think he has helped me become a better debater,” sophomore Brina Kuslak said. “He works a lot with confidence in your speaking and just being comfortable with what you’re doing. I think that this helps with most every class where you have to speak and do presentations.”

Fugler’s students are ready to grow and build relationships with him over the next three years as the program continues to achieve and grow.  

“My favorite thing about him is that he is very funny,” Kuslak said. “I love when teachers are comfortable enough to joke around with their students. He is a great teacher and I’m excited for the next three years with him.”