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Quanbeck well on way to NFL status
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

March 26. 2013 9:26AM
In her 19 years as an oral interp coach, Gina Koehn has never nominated a student for the prestigious NFL – the National Forensic League – a speech and debate honor society for middle and high school students.

But she’s finally getting her opportunity this year as a teacher-coach at Brandon Valley High School.

Junior Bailey Quanbeck has excelled in the sport of speech and debate, so much so she’s accumulated 903 points to date. That point total alone has made her eligible for the NFL Academic All American Award based on her membership (points), grade point average and ACT score. She has the GPA and ACT score, and now needs just 97 more points to achieve the feat.

“This is a first for me,” said Koehn, who is in her ninth year as an English-speech and interp coach at Brandon Valley. “I have never nominated a student for this before, as I’ve never had a student who met all the criteria.”

In fact, the most points accumulated under Koehn’s leadership was accumulated by Cody Strand, a 2008 Brandon Valley grad. He graduated with 500-plus points, remembers Koehn.

Talking seems to come naturally for Quanbeck, who intends to crack the 1,000-point mark in her senior year.

“I’m more inclined to practice something that I love – talking,” says Quanbeck, who took second place in the recent Brandon Valley Optimist Club-sponsored oratorical contest. She placed first in that same competition last year. “It’s really rewarding to go to tournaments, and win,” she adds.

Quanbeck stumbled onto the NFL program as a high school freshman when she learned about a class that could take her to weekend speech and debate tournaments.
But as a young freshman, Quanbeck hadn’t set her eyes on the prize just yet. “When I was a freshman, I envisioned it as this: I just wanted to have a good time,” she said.

Quanbeck routinely competes in oral interp, the high school fall play, variety night and speaks in church on occasion, all events that have garnered points toward her 903-point total.

“It’s just enjoyable,” she says.

Koehn hopes Quanbeck’s success will inspire other BVHS students to excel in speech and debate as well.

“I’m hoping that Bailey’s success is an inspiration for other interp kids,” she said. “I already have some freshman who have set a goal to beat her points.”

Brandon Valley High School Principal Gregg Talcott said it’s been more than 10 years since a Brandon Valley student had achieved the NFL honor. He cited the likes of Creighton Fraker, , Samantha Colburn and Carson Lee.

In the early 2000s, Fraker and Colburn placed third at the national competition, Talcott recalled.

“Bailey excels in lots of things,” Talcott said. “But this is her passion. She’s a tremendous kid and a great representative for this school, so it would be wonderful if she could get to 1,000 points.”
Quanbeck is the daughter of Mark and Anastasia Quanbeck of Brandon.
The National Forensic League honor society recognizes participation and progress in middle and high school public speaking and debating activities as a means to meet Common Core State Standards in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This nonprofit organization empowers educators with resources, fostering in students the ability to think critically, research persistently, articulate clearly, and lead ethically in a democratic society.

Since 1925, more than 1.4 million alumni have participated in the League, with more than 120,000 active members representing nearly 3,000 schools. The League awards more than $200,000 in college scholarships at its annual National Tournament, the largest academic competition in the world.

To learn more about the NFL, go to

Brandon Valley High School junior Bailey Quanbeck is eligible for the NFL Academic All American Award based on her membership (points), grade point average and ACT score. Photo by Jill Meier

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