Success speaks well for local schools

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The repetition must be getting tiresome to speech opponents.

Speech and debate dynasties from Columbia Falls and Glacier high schools were in familiar spots Saturday night — claiming sweepstakes trophies in Class A and Class AA state meets, respectively.

It was the ninth straight state title for Columbia Falls and the fourth in a row for Glacier.

The continued excellence of the speakers, debaters and coaches from these two schools is only part of the picture for Northwest Montana’s domination of the speech and debate ranks.

Flathead finished second in Class AA, and Bigfork won the second-place trophy in Class B-C, while Whitefish was fourth and Polson sixth in Class A team scoring at state.

All those team efforts were achieved by the hard work of students and coaches and the support of plenty of parents.

They are all to be congratulated: Their success is a testament to the power of words and their artful presentation.

Farewell to a good friend

Whitefish and the Flathead Valley said good-bye to one of its finest this week as a memorial service for Bob DePratu, 74, bid farewell to a longtime community leader.

Those who truly embody the American Dream as much as Bob did are few and far between. From a hardscrabble upbringing in the Rexford area, he gained a work ethic that would last him a lifetime. He also knew the value of giving back to the community.

Bob was so much more than a successful businessman and car dealer. His work in the Montana Senate and as chairman of the Senate Taxation Committee was pivotal in bringing about legislation that lowered the state’s income and capital-gains taxes.

Perhaps most importantly, though, one of the first things many of Bob’s closest friends said about him was that he was always a gentleman and a true friend. He left an exemplary legacy, and he’ll be missed.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Daily Inter Lake’s editorial board.

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