Seward High School’s Drama Debate and Forensics team, now 20 members strong, did their school proud at the 2014 Alaska State Drama Debate and Forensics Championship tournament at East High School in Anchorage Feb 14-16th, winning nine awards. The team won 1st place in the small schools in Drama events, 2nd place in small schools Overall, and the Sportsmanship Award.
They also won many individual/group awards. Hayden Tiner, Emily Brockman, Josephine Braun and Robin McKnight won the state championship for Reader’s Theater performance for a skit called “Bad Actors.” Hayden Tiner took 2nd place in Dramatic Interpretation.
Team members received several 4th Place awards including Reader’s Theater (Kara Knotek, Sebastian Kratz, Christian Tofson, and Kiesha Lynch) Public Forum and Debate (Hunter Doan and Griffen Plush) Overall Best Speaker in PFD (Hunter Doan). Michele Da Re took 5th place in Dramatic Interpretation and Griffin Plush took 6th as overall best speaker in PFD.
“I am so very proud of our team,” said team coach Agusta Lind, who also facilitates the Gifted and Talented (Quest) program at Seward Elementary School, Seward Middle School, Moose Pass and Hope School.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Seward High’s Debate, Forensics, and Drama Team,” added SHS Principal Trevan Walker. He noted that the team didn’t exist four years ago, and that just three years ago, they operated in club status. This is only the second year that they’ve been eligible to compete at state.
“It’s also important to note that individual awards are based on state-wide competition; not just small schools,” Walker said.
The team had already participated in four tournaments in Anchorage prior to the championship competition, and had been doing extremely well, consistently making the top three teams in Public Forum debate, Duo Interpretation, Duet Acting, Dramatic Interpretation, and Reader’s Theater, said Lind.
“We are proud of all of our awards,” said Lind. “Beyond that we are proud of how much students have improved this year, how well our newest members are doing, and the atmosphere of camaraderie we have built as a team.”
Some of the students commented on what the team has meant to them on their program during a public dress rehearsal at the Seward High School auditorium:
“I’d always been a quiet kid, I kept to myself, always had my nose buried in a book. I didn’t know how to act around new people. Then my Freshman year I decided I wanted to try something new: the DDF team. I didn’t really know anyone on the team. As soon as I showed up for the first meeting everyone was happy to show me some of the events, and even did an event with me. They made me feel quite welcome. I eventually opened up more and now I’m a happy member of our DDF family!”
~ Alyssa Leisure, Sophomore
“Debate has had a wonderful impact on my life. It has expanded my perspective on my community and the world. DDF has taught me so much about world affairs, speech writing, acting, and public speaking. I love the people in Alaska DDF, especially my teammates. Debate has given me a marvelous extended family. Joining DDF is the single most important decision I have made so far in my high school career.”
~ Robin McKnight, Junior
Reported by Heidi Zemach for SCN