GREENSBURG — Kim McMurry was awarded the Secondary Educator of the Year award from Kansas Speech Communication Association last month at a special banquet at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

McMurry, who teaches sophomore and senior English, college composition, drama and forensics, has been and educator at Kiowa County High School for more than 20 years. The KSCA, founded in 1939 as the state association of speech in Kansas, is an organization of professionals interested and engaged in the art of effective communication.

The teacher was surprised to get a call from a Kansas State High School Activities Association representative wanting to know if she was going to attend the awards banquet.

McMurry hadn't planned on going to the banquet because she was in charge of the Greensburg freshman dance as a sponsor for homecoming on the same night, but KCHS principal Travis Powell was happy to relieve McMurry of her duties and allow McMurry to attend the ceremony.

A Greensburg native, McMurry earned a basketball scholarship to play at Garden City Community College after graduating from Kiowa County High School. She then played basketball at Kansas State University for a year. McMurry then played at Southwestern College in Winfield.

After graduation from Southwestern, McMurry taught at Garden City High School for a year and then at Central USD 462 in Burden for two years, where she taught junior high English, before coming to KCHS.

McMurry said there is nothing like winning a state championship, referring to the KCHS forensics team's title earlier this year, but there were other reasons why she enjoyed teaching.

“My favorite part is when a kid has been underestimated and they finally get it, whether it is in class or in drama,” McMurry said. “When they get it, they realize they can do even more than they have just accomplished, and that gives them the confidence that there is nothing that will stop them.”

McMurry said she loves coaching forensics because there is something for everybody.

“We catch kids from all walks of life — shy, loud, popular or not, we accept everyone because there is something for that child in forensics,” she said. “Bringing home a state trophy (that) took a lot of years and a lot of people’s help that bought into it and worked hard to make it happen is amazing, but we have fun each year, whether we bring home a trophy or not, because we all help each other out."

One of the highlights for McMurry as a teacher has been the fact that she has been able to coach with her mom, Janet West, for the past few years. West was McMurry’s coach when she was growing up.

McMurry is married to DJ McMurry, who is the Pratt and Kiowa County Appraiser and a farmer.