Chuck and Gail Nicholas, longtime Bob Jones Academy speech and debate coaches, were honored with the Order of the Silver Crescent at the 36th annual BJA Speech and Debate Tournament Saturday, Oct. 15. State Senator Daniel Verdin, 1982 BJA graduate, presented the honors at the conclusion of the tournament.
The Order of the Silver Crescent is “the State of South Carolina's most prestigious service award. It was specifically established to recognize a remarkable single achievement or action of an individual's community service and volunteerism on the local level."
Chuck, the first Six Diamond Speech and Debate Coach in South Carolina’s history, and Gail, a Five Diamond Speech and Debate Coach and the first National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) Hall of Fame member in South Carolina’s history, have mentored thousands of debaters and been mainstays in the debate community in South Carolina.
Each year, they devote countless hours to hosting the BJA debate tournament held in Greenville. Hundreds of students from public and private schools in a four-state area compete in debate, public speaking, and interpretation.
In the summers, they travel across the country conducting speech and debate camps. Chuck serves as director of the Capitol Debate Summer Camps in Arizona, Philadelphia and New Jersey. Gail annually conducts the Mock Senate for the American Association of Christian Schools Youth Legislative Training Conference in Washington, D.C. as well as presents at NSDA symposiums.
“It is a testament to Gail and Chuck’s impact that their former students nominated them for and surprised them with these awards,” said Dr. Doug Abels, head of school. “They labor tirelessly to provide opportunities for young people to develop their rhetorical skills. We appreciate their leadership and selfless service at the Academy.”