Central's Kevin Berlat Selected as the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” Honoree

Posted by Community Relations at 3/18/2015

Kevin Berlat, an English teacher and also the speech and debate coach has been selected as the 2015 Section 7 recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). The National High School Heart of the Arts Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities. The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections- Section 7 is Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. A national winner will be announced at a summer meeting in New Orleans.

Currently in his 16th year teaching at Central High School, Berlat is one of the nation’s leaders in speech and debate. He is currently finishing his 10th year as president of the Arizona Speech and Debate Coaches Association (ASDCA), which makes him the longest-serving president in nearly 30 years. In addition, he serves as chair of the Arizona Interscholastic Association State Speech and Debate Advisory Committee. At the national level, Berlat is in his seventh year of service on the National Speech and Debate Association District Advisory Committee and has served as president.

Berlat’s greatest accomplishments have come in Congressional Debate, for which he organized the first “Boot Camp” in Arizona to prepare for nationals. This model has been replicated across all events in the state, leading to overall success for Arizona schools. As treasurer of the Coaches Association, he was instrumental in gaining 501(c)3 status for the state association, allowing the organization to move ahead in fundraising and in providing scholarships to students. He has directed its Congressional Debate lab since 2010, and two years later, he was asked to become part of a board charged with running and improving the camp.