Daughter speaking up, dad debate

Continuing Aaron Cox’s legacy, his daughter, Kennedi Ramirez, will take over as speech teacher and debate coach.

Cox, who was a speech/debate coach at OHS for decades, moves to George HW Bush New Tech Odessa to teach film and audio production. Ramirez’s takeover adds to his legacy at OHS.

“…She is going to be wonderful. She is going to be remarkable. She’s young, so she’ll be able to recruit more than me. And then they’ll see that young blood come in and say, oh, I want to try that. I’m very proud and happy that she got the job,” Cox said.

Cox said he wouldn’t bug Ramirez until the second half.

“Then I’m going to come in and take a look and say, hey, how are you?” No reviews until the second half,” Cox said.

Ramirez participated in speeches and debates at the OHS with his father as a teacher and competed in University Interscholastic League and Texas Forensic Association competitions throughout high school.

She added that it was sometimes boring to have her father as a teacher.

“Anyone who knows my dad knows he’s a pusher, like he would push you. So I feel like with the dynamic that we had, because he was my dad, I was definitely more stubborn , I guess. I didn’t mean 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 plans to change some things in the program.

“My father has been running for twenty years. I’m ready to take it back. I expect this first year to be tough while I step into the water, but I’m so excited to recruit. I’m so excited to give the program a new face, if you will. I definitely plan to do things differently from my dad. But I also plan to take inspiration from what my dad did because he was so successful. I would be crazy not to take some of his advice,” she added.

New Odessa High School speech and debate coach Kennedi Ramirez poses for a photo Tuesday afternoon, June 28, 2022 at the OHS Performing Arts Center. (Odessa American/Eli Hartman)

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

Ramirez has a 2-year-old daughter, Ophelia.

“…I really like 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 ran this program where as long as you had a college degree you could teach, the Odessa Pathway to Teaching. So I signed up for a certification program and decided to give it a try,” she added.

She said she really liked him, 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 would be interested in speaking, since my dad was leaving and I was like yeah, fine sure I would. I loved speaking and debating when I was there. That’s what I graduated from college and it was actually like communication and speaking and all that. I so was super happy to have the opportunity to try it out, especially to put myself in my dad’s shoes,” Ramirez said.

She added that she was definitely nervous.

“My dad has such a legacy here and he’s such a nice human and he’s had such an impact on so many people that even I got to see it. So… it’s really nerve-wracking to try to fill these 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 have the opportunity to try,” said said Ramirez.

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

Ramirez currently teaches summer school.

“I love teaching. I love the impact you have on students and the relationships you create. And like I said, I did primary this year, so it’s a bit different. Kids really cling to you and think of you as something really special and it’s so special to be that, especially for a little kid. I just, I loved it and the impact and watching them grow and learn so much was so special,” she added.

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

“…I like older kids. I like that they can already read and write and do all the fundamentals because really in the lower grades you teach the fundamentals and it’s scary because once you teach them there it affects for the rest of their lives in a different way than what you teach high school students. So I’m thrilled that my kids can read and write this year,” Ramirez added.

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

“…It really makes you feel like you have an impact every time you watch them from when they start until the end of the school year,” Ramirez added.

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