Perham High School’s speech instructor and head speech coach Kasey Wacker has been recognized as the Minnesota Speech Coaches Association Class A Coach of the Year for 2020.

Wacker has been a speech coach from 2009 to 2013 and from 2017 to the present. She was the coach in New York Mills from 2013 to 2017. “It was quite an honor to be selected,” Wacker said about being named the Class A Coach of the Year for 2020. She was selected for her section from her subsection, 22 A, to be one of the eight put forward for the honor in her class.

“To me to be selected from those eight coaches and be given this honor is pretty remarkable,” Wacker said. “I feel honored for that. I would guess that a lot of what separated me this year from previous years is that this year was my first year being the face of the MSCA as president of the Minnesota Speech Coaches Association.”

Wacker said that as president of the state association she was able to communicate with other coaches in ways that others could not because she could run online meetings for the association.

Wacker said the state association would normally have met in person at the state tournament and again in the fall when they would also hold its awards banquet for class coaches of the year. However, like everything else in 2020, the meetings and the awards were hosted virtually this year. She said that awards come later in the mail after the virtual ceremony.

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Speech tournaments are run with the help of the Minnesota State High School League, however, speech is not limited to the same practice resection that sports are by the league, Wacker said. “As a speech coach, you know that you are always a speech coach, you never really stop being that,” she said. So when the speech season was cut short in March, the coaches in the state association did what they could to hold online tournaments for all students in the state regardless if their coach was an association member or not.

“I think that offered some closure for a lot of students and coaches,” Wacker said. “But it still wasn’t closure to our season. Nothing really beats the state tournament.”