October 6, 2011 at 9:09 a.m.
The honor is presented to speech and debate programs that earn 100 degrees or more in a year, and the Forest Lake program did so last year.
"Such a milestone is remarkable because it demonstrates outstanding commitment to teaching students essential life skills - including communication, research, listening, writing, and organization," wrote NFL Executive Director J. Scott Wunn in his letter to high school speech and debate coaches Robyn Madson and Tim Newcomb
In the letter, Wunn continued: "The hard work you have invested to achieve this distinction will pay dividends for years to come. I encourage you to build upon this momentum to ensure that even more students are empowered to become effective communicators, ethical individuals, critical thinkers, and leaders in a democratic society."
Speech and debate teams at Forest Lake Area High School have a long and distinguished history of success, including several nationally-ranked teams, state individual champions and at least one national champion.
This is the second year that Forest Lake has been honored by the NFL. Last year Madson, who coaches both debate and Student Congress, received the NFL's Diamond Award for her success in 10 years of coaching, having led seven teams to the state tournament and three teams to nationals.