Mr. Larry Bailey awarded One Diamond Membership in the National Speech and Debate Association


Mr. Larry Bailey

Earlier this week, Mr. Larry Bailey, theatre director, received a letter from the National Speech and Debate Association indicating that he earned a One Diamond degree of membership in their honor society.

“Diamond coach awards reflect excellence and longevity in the activity,” Bailey said. “Coaches receive one point for every ten merit points earned by their students. Coaches then earn Association membership and advanced standing at the same milestones as students, until they earn 1,000 points and the Donus D. Roberts Quad Ruby Coach Award.”

This award takes the organization, and Bailey, to a different level of excellence.

“As a coach, it signifies a commitment to students continued success in competition and to themselves,” Bailey said. “Membership in the NSDA Honor Society helps students attain scholarships in universities and teaches them the value of responsibility.”

The theatre department is no stranger to success, having won numerous UIL and TFA state speech and theatre contest. This is just another achievement to add on to the list of recognitions the group has earned.

“For lack of a better phrase, this tells everyone that we mean business,” Bailey said. “In the past few years, Judson has made a name for itself in the Texas Forensics and UIL State competitions, and I am looking forward to taking that reputation to nationals this year.”

Ironically, Bailey’s life started taking him in a different direction after high school, but theatre brought him back to the classroom.

“I wasn’t always a teacher. I started this journey as a police officer,” Bailey said. “I did theatre in high school and I always enjoyed it, but I had my sights on being an officer. I went to the police academy right after high school and did that for four years. I continued to do theatre at the community level during this time. I decided in 1994 that I wanted to pursue teaching and that I should do something I love. I moved to San Marcos and attended Southwest Texas State University. I find that as a theatre teacher, I can reach students in ways that other disciplines can’t because I deal with emotions and the human experience every day as part of the class. It allows students to open up and feel comfortable in their space.”

The responsibility of a theatre director is one of those positions in the schoolhouse that comes with long hours of practices, rehearsals, and long weekends away from family. The awards are a result of a commitment and love that only a few understand.

“I can best describe it as ‘The Spark’. That moment when you know they are doing their best, and they really and truly get it. Win or lose, that moment, that look on their face is why I teach,” Bailey said.

Bailey will be recognized at the 2019 National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, June 20, 2019.