Phoenix Country Day Middle School debate coach wins national award

The National Speech & Debate Association has announced C. Ryan Joyce from Phoenix Country Day Middle School as the 2017 Middle School Coach of the Year.

Mr. Joyce is the Director of Advancement at Phoenix Country Day School. He has been coaching middle school speech and debate for the past three years, leaving an impact on hundreds of young students, according to a press release.

“Ryan (has) played a huge role in bringing this incredible ‘sport of the mind’ to our middle school for the first time in its 50-year existence,” middle school parent Deb Lambert said in a prepared statement.

“Middle school years are important years of development and growth. To have someone like Ryan that can support, encourage and teach youth is an incredible gift to the student, family and school.”

Within just three years, Mr. Joyce has created a strong middle school speech and debate team with over 150 students.

“Mr. Joyce’s ability to coach people to their full potential is astonishing,” eighth grader Bennett Montrose said in a prepared statement.

“He was able to turn a middle school team with little to no experience into one of the best teams in the nation with multiple students winning national championships in speech and debate.”

More important than titles and trophies, Mr. Joyce is teaching valuable life skills that will prepare students for high school, college, a career and beyond. To many of his students, and their parents, he has become a member of their family.

“Not only does Mr. Joyce excel as a coach, mentor, big brother, and father figure for our speech and debate team, but also in managing his time with speech and debate,” Montrose said in a prepared statement. “He sets aside time for every single child and made us all feel special.”

“Ryan changed my son’s life forever because of speech and debate and I will always be forever grateful for the caring he has shown my son,” Ms. Lambert said in a prepared statement. “The kids on this team are outstanding representatives of the positive things that speech and debate can provide to students, as well as having an incredible coach can do for a child searching for a voice.”

Mr. Joyce will be presented the Middle School Coach of the Year Award at the National Speech & Debate Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. this June.

The Coach of the Year is selected through a committee comprised of members of the National Speech & Debate Association Board of Directors and the Executive Director who review nominations submitted by member schools.

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