Victor Silva, the head coach of Desert Vista High School’s speech and debate team, has been named educator of the year for Arizona by the National Federation of High Schools Speech, Debate, and Theater Association.
Each state’s speech and debate coaches association picks an educator for the national group’s title.
A teacher at Desert Vista since 2007, Silva has been the school’s speech and debate coach since 2004 and has led the team to 13 state championships. He was the school’s teacher of the year in 2010.
His latest citation reflects his “significant contributions to high school speech, debate and theater activities.”
It is based on “organization and continuance of an activity program, significant and ongoing contributions to the field, years of both curricular and co-curricular service, as well as contributions to the profession both in and out of the state,” according to a release.
“I am so grateful to represent Desert Vista and our speech and debate team” Silva said. “To me, this is an honor not just for myself but for our coaching staff and students. It is not lost on me that I am merely a figurehead for our team and the incredible work that they do every day.
“Our team is built on the foundation of hard work, toughness, and a commitment to each other,” he added. “To have the rest of the speech and debate coaches in Arizona recognize our team and the values that we instill in our students is humbling.”
Silva also prepares the team for the federation’s national championship tournament.
Under his direction, Desert Vista has reached 23 national final rounds in main events and five supplemental event finals, winning the 2012 national championship in expository speaking and four National School of Outstanding Distinction awards.
The latter honors go to the top 10 overall speech and debate teams in the United States.
Desert Vista also has won three National Speech School of Excellence Awards, a National Debate School of Excellence Award and the Senator Karl E. Mundt Trophy.
The trophy goes to the school with the largest number of cumulative participation points in congressional debate at the national championship tournament.
As a high school student, Silva was a finalist at the California State Championship Tournament and as an Arizona State University student was the national runner up in extemporaneous speaking at the 2004 National Forensics Association National Championship Tournament.