By Jeff Brady
HAINES – The Skagway High Debate, Drama, Forensics (DDF) team started the season off strong by landing all five students in final events at their first meet in Haines.
Leading Skagway with first and second place finishes respectively in Expository Speaking were juniors Kara Whitehead and Micah Cook.
Whitehead took first with her moving speech, “ALS,” explaining the history of the disease and her personal experience with it. She lost her father to ALS when she was 10.
“I was definitely proud of it,” Whitehead said afterwards.
Cook’s speech, “Is the Glory of Past Men All Moonshine,” compared forgotten atrocities of past ancient “heroes” like Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great to those from more recent memory like Hitler and Stalin whom we view as villains.
Junior Steaven McKnight placed second in Extemporaneous Commentary, where he grabbed a quote out of an envelope and had 20 minutes to prepare a short speech. He did this three times and scored high each time.
McKnight and Cook teamed up with sophomore Danny Brady in the biting satire, “Extremely Terrifying and Incredibly Close,” which placed second in Readers Theatre. Drawing on several pieces from terrorist manuals to rap poetry to tweets from a former Tea Party congressman, they presented a game show that blasted away at violence in our society.
Brady said he felt that the script was well-received by judges, and they could have won first “if we had everything down” during the performance.
McKnight’s hilarious piece, “Election Day,” finished third in Mime. He played a man in the voting booth faced with this year’s choices. For Trump he mimicked building a wall and then looking down on the people. For Clinton he pretended to sneak into a room and delete e-mails from a laptop. The skit was chosen for a command performance at the end of the meet and had everyone laughing.
McKnight said he even added a few movements and facial expressions to work the big crowd. After the election, he will probably “alter and add stuff to it to adapt it to be more current as time goes on,” he noted.
Finally, junior Dainean Teeluk finished fourth in Dramatic Interpretation of Literature with her piece, “Subway Suicide.” Teeluk played on several emotions as a fast food employee serving what would be a customer’s last meal.
“I did a lot better than I thought I would,” Teeluk said, noting that the whole team just started blocking their routines a week before the meet.
Each student said the meet went well, but they see a lot of room for improvement. Seven schools competed in Haines, but no team scores were posted.
The next DDF meet is in Ketchikan in early December. The Skagway team is coached this year by Jon Baldwin, and former coach Kent Fielding is assisting.