This past week,
June 14-20, the National Speech and Debate Association held the largest
virtual National Tournament in the country. Over 1,300 high schools and
nearly 5000 students competed to determine the nation’s best speakers in
Performing Arts, Argumentation, Legislative Debate, and Public Address.
One of the
highlights of the tournament for Indiana and Chesterton High School was the
induction of longtime teacher and coach, James Cavallo, into the National
Speech and Debate Hall of Fame.
Cavallo is a very
deserving inductee. He was voted upon by other Hall of Fame members and
three Diamond coaches. Three diamond coaches have coached a minimum of 15
years and earned a level of distinction based on their programs. Jim joins
Joe Wycoff and Bob Kelly as Chesterton coaches in the NSDA Hall of Fame.
Renowned coach and
legend Jim Copeland said that NFL/NSDA founder Bruno E. Jacob believed that
the Hall of Fame should be based on three factors: District success, State
success, and National Tournament qualifying and success.
Jim Cavallo is a
four Diamond coach, who coached both Speech and Debate from 1971 until he
retired in 2009. From 1997 to 2009 Cavallo was Chesterton’s Program
Director. He actively coached certain Speech events, but his focus was in
Congress and, primarily, Policy Debate.
Cavallo served on
Indiana High School League Board of Directors for 10 years, was a member of
the Indiana High School Forensic League Hall of Fame; helped design the
IHSFL State Debate Tournament format; coached 13 Policy Debate State
Championships and four Congress State Champions; and coached 15 Student
Congress and 34 Policy Debate Team National Qualifiers. Many of these teams
and individuals advanced to out-rounds and National recognition.
On a larger scale,
Cavallo was a Chesterton High School (Indiana) Coach of Record when
Chesterton won five consecutive Team National Championships in the late 80’s
and 90’s. He was also noted when Chesterton won an NFL National School of
Excellence Award--and, in 2009 Jim received the Alfred Odem Commendation
when Chesterton won its third Bruno E. Jacob award.
the early 1970’s, Jim was one of the first Policy Debate coaches to break
from the “boys club” mentality--and encourage, promote, and recruit females
to do Policy Debate. He was active and enthusiastic. To Cavallo, every kid
had talent, potential, and the ability to contribute to constructive