speech team members

Ruppert Named Speech Coach of Year by MSCA

By Christine Erntson, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
April 27, 2021 | 8 p.m.

PACT’s head speech coach Christal Ruppert has been recognized by the Minnesota Speech Coaches Association (MSCA) as the 2021 Speech Coach of the Year for section 4A.

Ruppert was a shy kid when she joined her high school speech team back in the 8th grade. Ever since, she has dreamed of helping other students find their voices through this unique extracurricular, which is why she started the PACT speech team in 2016. Ruppert believes, “well-spoken teenagers can change the world.” In their first five seasons, the team has had five students advance to the state tournament. In 2021, three students advanced into the state finals. 

But what is most remarkable about the team is the culture that has been built to make every student find their voice in a safe and caring environment. “She has made this speech season unbelievable,” said Olivia Bailey ‘23, “and she just loves this entire team so much, and she makes sure we all know it. Every night before a speech meet, she sends us out this huge pep talk telling us how proud she is of us and making sure that we’re taking care of ourselves and doing well mentally. She makes sure each of us knows that we are a special part of the team, feel welcome, and know that we are loved. She has created such a positive team culture that makes everybody WANT to be there and be a part of it. She is just a genuinely loving, caring, selfless person, and I couldn’t ask for a better coach.” 

Students in speech develop communication, critical thinking, research, and persuasion skills -- a skill they take with them the rest of their lives. The mission of the PACT Speech Team is to provide students a valuable educational and social activity; promote skills of communication and teamwork; present public speaking competitions and expose the PACT community to the educational benefits of public speaking; offer speaking activities that improve critical thinking, research skills, ethical argumentation, advocacy, analysis, persuasion, oral presentation, listening, organization, teamwork, group problem solving, citizenship, and leadership; and to equip students to find their voices. This year’s team did not let the pandemic stop them from enjoying the weekly speech meets. Each week there was a theme filled with decorations, food, games, and activities. 

Anthony Carlson ‘21 said, “Ruppert is a dedicated coach who puts so much into it so that her students can perform well. She works incredibly hard, and it’s really insane. Her work and dedication do not go unnoticed.”


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