Bellingham United Debate Club Coach Honored With One Schoolhouse Award

The One Schoolhouse award recognizes teams or individuals who are supporting The Bellingham Promise and equity for students beyond one school. This year, we recognized debate coach Laura Livingston for her work to expand opportunities for our high school students interested in debate.

When coach Laura Livingston took over the Bellingham United Debate Club in 2014, there were seven kids. Now there are 25 students from our three comprehensive high schools. This is a result of the dedication and time she put in to building up the debate program in Bellingham Public Schools.

Besides meeting with students twice per week for two-hour practice sessions, Laura takes the team to tournaments both in and out of state. These tournaments are sometimes a multiple day commitment.

Not only does Laura work hard to promote the debate club, but she is very proud of her students. She is constantly trying to find ways to have her students recognized for their hard work and much deserved accomplishments.

Sehome senior Katie Clarke described Laura as a “witty and sassy” coach that really cares about her students and puts in a lot of time and effort into building up the debate program. Katie said Laura’s enthusiastic support of her and her teammates has helped lead the team to success.

“I remember my freshman year we were going against one of the best teams in Washington state, and we were really scared. We worked really hard on our case,” Katie said. “I remember that Laura pulled me aside and put her hands on my shoulders and she said, you can do this. When I was speaking I could see her acknowledging my points and it reaffirmed what I was saying. I don’t know how, but we won that round. I think the defining factor that helped us win was Laura and her confidence in us.” 

After Laura received the One Schoolhouse Award she took a moment to recognize and thank her hardworking students; the parents who volunteer their time and energy, and the assistant coaches that help teach and guide the students.

Congratulations, Laura!

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