Mr. Steve Tompkins
The NFL (now called the National Speech and Debate Association) is the largest speech and debate organization in the world. BJA has had membership in this group since 1985. Our students regularly compete against a wide mixture of public and private schools--not only in South Carolina but also in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. As a South Carolina 1A school, we have been 1A State champs every year since 2007. Prior to that (as a 2A school) we also held the 2A State title. As a 1A school, we consistently “hold our own” against the much larger 4A schools. Every year members who reach a certain level of achievement at the state level travel to regional competitions, and some compete in a national event. Two BJA students were national champions in Extemporaneous Commentary (2003) and then the next year in Storytelling. At the national level, BJA consistently is ranked in the top 10 percent or higher when it comes to membership and tournament accomplishments.
Chuck and Gail Nicholas coach the BJA team. Mr. and Mrs. “Nick” each have 30 years of experience in competitive speech events; and in the NFL’s point system of rating coaches, Mrs. Nick has achieved the 4-Diamond level, and Mr. Nick reached the 5-Diamond level in February. In June he will be honored at the national tournament for this distinguished achievement. On March 1 of this year they were named the 1A Coaches of the Year. Presently, no other South Carolina school has a 4- or 5-Diamond coach.
At any time in history, it has been important for Christians to communicate clearly the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. With the power of technology in our current culture, it has never been more important for BJA students to be able to research, formulate, analyze, and communicate the biblical worldview that prepares high school students for their college years--uniquely shaping the character of students to influence their generation as they fill important leadership roles in society.