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Committee wants auditorium named after speech coach

     “Martin Carter created a winning tradition at Park Rapids High School and carved his name into the state record books in speech and drama,” Mark Carter (“no relationship”) told the Park Rapids School board Monday night.

     Now a committee is asking that the auditorium be named after the late speech coach and teacher in his honor.

     While board members expressed support, they agreed to “look at the broader picture” before moving forward on the request.

     Superintendent Lance Bagstad suggested the board review how this will impact future procedural decisions. He recommended “research on what’s being done elsewhere.”

     Mark Carter, in presenting the recommendation, reminded board members that under Martin Carter’s direction, the Park Rapids speech teams captured 28 district championships and 18 regional championships. The school was ranked fourth in the state for most medals won by a school in Class A competitive speech and the most medals won by a school in a single year – five – in 1986.

     Martin Carter guided the Park Rapids one-act play cast to 18 state one-act play festivals in 29 years, the casts earning star ratings, including years when competing at the AA level, Mark Carter pointed out.

     He summarized the numerous accomplishments and awards Martin Carter earned through the years.

     “Martin Carter was primarily responsible for the state-of-the-art auditorium that Park Rapids Area Schools has today,” Mark Carter said. “He took the best of what he saw in high school and college auditoriums and had them put into the facility…

     “Over the years, Martin Carter became one of the most successful speech and drama directors in the state,” Mark Carter said. “In addition, he has been a master teacher, always having time for his students. His reputation throughout the state as a speech coach, drama director and judge has been acknowledged by his peers throughout the state.”

     The proposal is to center a Martin Carter Auditorium sign between the two doors, and be compatible with the Hall of Fame. Costs for the sign would be borne by “outside sources.”

     The board agreed to revisit the suggestion at the June 3 meeting.

     “I’m very much in favor,” Karol Savage said. “I had the honor of being taught by him. But I agree. We need a procedure for what may follow.”

     “We need to be prudent,” board chair Sherry Safratowich agreed. “But I would like to see this happen.”

     “I support it,” Gary Gauldin said. “But let’s do it right, via resolution.”

     In other action, the board:

     n Approved the resignations of teachers Jeannie Mayer and Allison Spahn and Cory Leppanen as band director

     n Approved new hire Rae Bayman as an elementary special education teacher.