DR. GIFFORD BLYTON
Since 1948, the year Dr. Gifford Blyton was employed to start an intercollegiate debating team at the University of Kentucky, his name has become synonymous with forensics in Kentucky. Hired to bring top scholars to U.K., Dr. Blyton did just that. In the twenty years that he coached the debating team, his students won over 700 championship trophies, including several national championships. Dr. Blyton taught and coached some of the most outstanding legal scholars in our nation, including former Washington D.C. Bar Association president George Shadoan and former Clemson University president Dr. C.W. “Deno” Curris. One of his former students, Rodney Page, still holds the record for the highest score ever earned on the LSAT (Law School Admission Test).
Some of Dr. Blyton’s proudest accomplishments include co-authoring the 1954 Tau Kappa Alpha best- selling debate text Principles of Argumentation and Debate, being named president of the American Forensic Association, and organizing the first integrated debate in the nation between the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University. This historic debate made headlines nationwide and came two years before the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.
Well known for his ability to generate support and enthusiasm for forensics, Dr. Blyton retired from U.K. to become the director of the Kentucky High School Speech League, Inc. As director, he was instrumental in rebuilding high school debate. Under his leadership, the League flourished. Dr. Blyton’s integrity, love for forensics, and keen business sense helped to make KHSSL one of the strongest forensic organizations in the United States.
The Blyton Book Awards and Scholarship honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Blyton. In addition to the Blyton Book Awards which are presented annually to an outstanding Junior and Senior Division student, the Blyton Scholarship Fund which he initiated enables outstanding seniors at KHSSL schools to attend college. Dr. Blyton’s many years of service to forensics in Kentucky, as well as the nation, are immeasurable. For over five decades, Dr. Gifford Blyton was a beacon of leadership for thousands of forensic students and teachers.
BLYTON BOOK AWARDS
Blyton Book Awards are presented annually to two outstanding KHSSL students — one from the Junior Division and one from the Senior Division. The awards are named for Dr. Gifford Blyton, former director of KHSSL.
For a student to be eligible for this award, he/she must have (1) competed in KHSSL for at least two years, (2) proved to be superior in more than one KHSSL event (which, in the Senior Division, includes drama and debate), and (3) promoted speech, drama, and/or debate activities within his/her school, community, and state.
To be considered for the award, a student must be nominated by his/her coach. The coach must complete this nomination form and forward it, along with a personal letter of reference, to KHSSL via email. If necessary, additional pages may be used to detail only those activities mentioned on the nomination form. No pictures, transcripts, or grades may be included, nor should they be made reference to. The nomination form and letter must be emailed to KHSSL by the deadline, February 27, 2020. Late applicants will not be considered.
The recipient of this award in each division will be chosen by an impartial panel selected by the Director with the award presented at the State Championship Tournament. The coaches of the winners will be notified prior to the tournaments.
The Blyton Scholarships, initiated by former KHSSL Director Gifford Blyton, are up to $1000.00 cash awards presented to KHSSL seniors on the basis of financial need and potential for success at a college or university of their choice. The awards will be made following the student’s first semester at the college or university of the student’s choice.
The recipients must have participated in KHSSL activities for at least two years and must be seniors in high school. The scholarships will be awarded to at least two students — one male and one female — without regard to race, religion, political affiliation, or physical handicaps. The awards must be used solely for helping students begin their advanced educational careers.
To be considered for a scholarship, a student must complete the application found at this link and mail it, along with two letters of recommendation, to the League’s Chair. The postmark deadline for 2020 is February 15.
The recipients of these scholarships will be chosen by an impartial panel, and the scholarships will be presented at the State Speech and Debate Tournament. Coaches should encourage those students who meet the qualifications to apply.