The nationally recognized speech coach, Paul Cummins, will be honored as Distinguished Alumni at the Carrier Mills-Stonefort High School Wall of Fame ceremony on the night of Wednesday, Oct. 9.
Cummins is a native of Carrier Mills who graduated from the high school in the class of 1990, receiving a speech scholarship to Southeastern Illinois College.
“It was really my experiences on the high school speech team that started me on my chosen career,” Cummins said.
Receiving an associates degree in general arts from SIC, Cummins attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where he earned a bachelors degree in education and a masters degree in speech communication. He is currently working on a doctorate of philosophy in education administration at SIU.
Cummins taught English and speech at the high school in Mt. Vernon from 1995 to 2000 and is currently teaching communication courses at SIC. At SIC Cummins is coach of the speech team and has led the team to a national championship in 2005. The SIC speech team consistently places in the top five in the national college speech tournaments.
“I didn't realize how much individual attention we received from the teachers in high school,” Cummins said about his experience in high school adding, “It made it much easier for a person to find their identity as a young adult.”
When asked what advice he would give to todays high school students Cummins said, “Reflect on what you have been given, in yourself and the skills and knowledge you receive. Appreciate the attention you are given from your teachers.” adding “And of course, stay in school!”
The Wall of Fame ceremony honors sophomore through senior high school students who have maintained a 4.0 or better GPA since freshman year and their pictures are displayed on the Wall of Fame near the office in the high school in Carrier Mills. This year’s ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 in the gym of the Carrier Mills-Stonefort High School and is open to the public.
Cummins plans to continue his career at SIC and remain in Southern Illinois.
“I kind of like what I’m doing,” he said with a smile.