Gail Nicholas, Bob Jones Academy (BJA) faculty member, was recently inducted into the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) Hall of Fame. Nicholas is the first South Carolina coach to receive this honor.
This year’s Hall of Fame recognitions were given during NSDA’s virtual national competition in June 2021.
The NSDA Hall of Fame is the highest honor for speech and debate coaches. Of the thousands of coaches in the United States and around the world, only 193 have achieved the award since its inception in 1978. Hall of Fame members along with coaches who have earned three or more diamond awards vote to elect the new members from a slate of those nominated by member coaches.
Nicholas has 35 years of NSDA coaching experience and is beginning her 20th year as district chair for South Carolina’s NSDA program.
Few members have received more NSDA awards than Nicholas. Her achievements include five diamond awards, awards reflecting excellence and longevity; bronze, silver, and gold district leader commendations; and 12 Distinguished Service Awards.
“Our leadership team is delighted that Mrs. Nic has been honored in this way by the National Speech & Debate Association. BJA’s speech and debate program is a hallmark of the academy experience, and hundreds of students have been influenced by Mrs. Nic over her years of ministry,” said BJA Head of School Dr. Doug Abels. “The value of personal mentoring along with development of teamwork skills is tremendous for our students in both the short and long term. We’re thankful for a personal spiritual influence that has been a constant and integral part of that development.”
Under the leadership of Gail and her husband, Chuck, BJA has qualified for 27 national tournaments. Chuck and Gail have coached two national champions as well as several national finalists.