Daughter taking on speech, debate from dad

·5 min read

Jul. 3—Continuing the legacy of Aaron Cox, his daughter, Kennedi Ramirez will be taking over as speech teacher and debate coach.

Cox, who was speech/debate coach at OHS for decades, is moving to George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa to teach film and audio production. Having Ramirez take over his position adds to his legacy at OHS.

"... She's going to be wonderful. She's going to do outstanding. She's young, so she'll be able to recruit more than I could. And so they will see this young blood coming in and say, oh, I want to try this. I'm very proud and happy that she got the position," Cox said.

Cox said he will not be bugging Ramirez until second semester.

"Then I will come in and peek in and say, hey, how you doing? No critique until the second semester," Cox said.

Ramirez participated in speech and debate at OHS with her father as her teacher and made University Interscholastic League and Texas Forensic Association competitions throughout high school.

She added that it was sometimes annoying to have her dad as her teacher.

"Anybody who knows my dad knows he's a pusher, like he'll push you. So I feel like with the dynamic that we had, because he was my dad, I was definitely more obstinate, I guess. I did not want to do what my dad said when he said it. But I think overall we were a pretty good team," she said.

Ramirez said she does plan on changing up some things in the program.

"My dad's had his run for 20-something years. I am ready to take it over. I am expecting this first year to be rough while I get my feet in the water, but I am so excited to recruit. I'm so excited to give the program a fresh face, if you will. I definitely plan on doing things differently than my dad does. But I also plan on pulling from what my dad did because he was so successful. I would be crazy to not take some of his pointers," she added.

Ramirez taught second grade during the 2021-22 school year. Her parents are Aaron Cox and Kristy Crutcher, who taught elementary and now teaches middle school at St. John's Episcopal School.

Ramirez has a 2 year old daughter, Ophelia.

"... I really enjoy teaching. I never saw myself as a teacher growing up because both my parents were teachers and I didn't want to do it," Ramirez said.

"But I started because they were running that program where as long as you had a college degree you could teach, the Odessa Pathway to Teaching. So I enrolled in a certification program and decided to try it out," she added.

She said she really liked it, but she decided she wanted to teach older students.

"... I decided to go ahead and interview for Odessa High. The principal asked me if I'd be interested in taking speech, since my dad was leaving and I was like yes, of course I would. I loved speech and debate when I was in it. That's what I got my college degree and actually was like communication and speech and all of that. So I was super stoked to have the opportunity to try it, especially to step into my dad's shoes," Ramirez said.

She added that she is definitely nervous.

"My dad has such a legacy here and he's such a kind human and he's made such an impact on so many people that even I've gotten to see. So ... it's really nerve-racking to try to fill those shoes and I know I have a lot to do to even compare to half the teacher my dad was. But I'm so excited to be given the opportunity to try," Ramirez said.

Ramirez went to Odessa College and University of Texas Permian Basin where she earned a bachelor's degree in communications and speech rhetoric. She was attending Grand Canyon University for graduate school in mental health counseling, but she is currently on break to care for her daughter.

Ramirez is currently teaching summer school.

"I love teaching. I love the impact that you get to make on students and the relationships that you form. And like I said, I did elementary this year, so it's a little bit different. The kids really latch on to you and think of you as something really special and that's so special to get to be that, especially to a little kid. I just, I loved it and the impact and getting to see them grow and learn so much was so special," she added.

Ramirez said it's going to be a jump teaching high school, but she's ready for it.

"... I like the older kids. I like the fact that they already know how to read and write and do all of the fundamentals because really in the lower grades you're teaching the fundamentals and that's scary because once you teach them there, it impacts them for the rest of their lives in a different way than what you're teaching high school kids. So I'm definitely excited that my kids will know how to read and write this year," Ramirez added.

She said the best part of teaching is seeing the students' growth, whether as a person or academically.

"... It really makes you feel like you're making an impact whenever you get to watch them from where they start to where the school year ends," Ramirez added.