After a three-year hiatus, the Drama Debate and Forensics team is back in full force and bringing home victories to Skagway School.
Kara Whitehead, Dominic Rotier and Zach Breen represented the team earlier this month at a meet at Mt. Edgecumbe High School.
Whitehead was awarded first place in expository speaking for her informative speech on the evolution of fairy tales. She was also awarded the command performance, which Coach Shelby Surdyk called an honor.
Dominic Rotier was awarded second place in oration for a persuasive speech, and Zach Breen won third place for solo acting.
Breen portrayed an aged female of low education from Romulus Linney‘s “The Cure,” while also playing his own score on the ukulele.
While students receive tutelage from Kent Fielding’s Speech and Debate class, Surdyk said they also practice one to two hours each school day and six hours on the weekends.
Prior to the Sitka match, Surdyk said students were focused on writing and memorizing their speeches, while also practicing blocking and gestures.
Now, she said they are able to spend time working on a duo interpretation of literature.
Rotier and Al Weber are creating a 10-minute screenplay from Edward Abbey’s “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” a humorous novel with political undertones.
Weber and Rotier will have to gain an understanding of their characters, create the screenplay and act it out for judges during their meet in Haines on Nov. 6.
Surdyk said Danny Brady, Madison Cox and Delaney Rau have already shown interest in participating in a Ketchikan meet in December.
“Unlike other sport activities, there isn’t a limit on the number of team members who can participate,” she said.
The larger the team, the greater chance they have of taking home a sweepstakes win, gaining recognition for the school as a whole.
Surdyk participated in DDF during all four of her high school years at Skagway School, but this is her first year as coach.
She said without the help and support of Superintendent Josh Coughran, the School Board, Jon Baldwin and her former coaches Billi Clem and Kent Fielding, the team wouldn’t have their current success.
As coach, Surdyk hopes to build an archive of pieces for future students, as a way to help them grow and transition.
“Perhaps next year, if there are new students interested, they would have those resources so they could see the evolution of a piece and not be as intimidated,” she said.
Though a date has yet to be set, Surdyk said a local DDF showcase is likely to be held in December to present the students’ work.
“I think the most rewarding thing as a coach, is to see students pick a topic or a theme that is of personal interest to them, and through working on their piece, develop a passion or an idea related to that topic that they can then follow later in life,” she said.