Carla Savage-Wells Named to Nandua Athletic/Academic Hall of Fame

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Carla Savage-Wells speaks from behind a lectern during a high school forensics event during her early days of coaching the Nandua High School forensics team. Submitted photo.

By Connie Morrison —

Longtime Nandua High School forsensics coach Carla Savage-Wells was this year’s Nandua 2020 Athletic/Academic Hall of Fame inductee.

Forensics — public speaking and debate — in its competitive form is organized under the Virginia High School Athletic League.

Savage-Wells coached Nandua’s team from 2000 until 2010, winning the state championship in 2008.

“Mrs. Savage-Wells led the Forensics team to unprecedented heights,” reads the press release from the Nandua High School Athletic Boosters Club announcing her induction. “Under her leadership, Nandua became a Forensics dynasty in the Commonwealth of Virginia and was widely recognized as a perennial powerhouse, as the team won 10 consecutive regional championships.”

Her students were also competitive individually, faring well in regional and state tournaments, with Savage-Wells celebrating their successes with cheers and ensuring they received all the accolades an athlete would have received for a similar accomplishment.

“During her tenure, the Forensics team became a staple in the Tidewater Forensic League (TFL)—a series of invitational tournaments at which Nandua routinely placed in the Top 3 against AAA and AA schools,” according to the release. “When any of her students received an award, she would start off the widely recognized, trademark ‘Nan du aah, Oooh ha ha’ chant.”

Evidence of her coaching excellence hangs in the school auditorium: banners recording one state and nine regional forensic championships.

Championship forensics banners fill the auditorium wall at Nandua High School. Photo by Chicki Jester.

Savage-Wells returned to coaching in 2016 when her daughter, a NHS student, entered the forensics arena. The team soon found its groove under her tutelage, taking a regional runner-up trophy during the 2016-2017 season.

Upon learning of Savage-Wells’ induction into the hall of fame, former students she had coached ­— “forensicators” or “love bunnies,” as she was known to call them — compiled a heartwarming video celebrating the news and testifying to the contribution the forensics coach had made in their lives.

Savage-Wells now resides in Virginia Beach with her husband, Norm Wells, and her daughter, Sheridan.