Catherine Horner-Bennett, a 1974 graduate of Vermillion High School and a 1978 graduate of the University of South Dakota, was inducted into the National Forensic League's Coaches Hall of Fame.
The induction took place last month during the annual national tournament of schools from across the country. The National Forensic League is the national honor society of high school speech and debate competitors that oversees activities nationwide and hosts the annual tournament.
Horner-Bennett was the 1974 South Dakota state champion in extemporaneous speaking, qualifying for the national tournament and went on to compete for USD and earned her degree in speech communication. She now lives in Taos, NM where she has taught and coached for the past nineteen years. While at Taos, Horner-Bennett has qualified 40 students to the NFL national tournament as well as a national champion and five national semifinalists. She was also the coach of the only American team to win the World Schools Debate Tournament held in New Zealand in 1994. At St. Michael's High School in Santa Fe where she taught before going to Taos, she coached three national champions, including the only two students from the same school in National Forensic League history to close out Lincoln-Douglas debate, meaning the students took first and second place in a field of more than 200 students nationwide.
Horner-Bennett has served as President of the New Mexico Speech and Debate Association, has served as the New Mexico Chair of NFL, and has been a representative to the National Federation of High Schools.
Horner-Bennett is the daughter of George and Terri Horner of Vermillion.