January 20, 2011 |

Student speakers reach final round at Ketchikan

All 10 Haines High School participants in a Drama, Debate and Forensics tournament last weekend in Ketchikan made the finals in at least one event.

"It’s never happened before, as far as I know," said Haines coach Gershon Cohen.

The Haines squad included senior Sung Heywood; juniors Esther Bower, Cassie Galasso and Elena Horner; sophomores Royal Henderson, Tia Heywood and Brennon Whitermore; and freshmen Zeke Frank, Isobel Smith and Eli White.

The Friday and Saturday tournament drew teams from Juneau-Douglas, Ketchikan, Mount Edgecumbe, Petersburg, Sitka, Skagway, Thunder Mountain and Wrangell.

Sung Heywood and Horner took first place in duet acting for "Sure Thing," a piece Cohen described as "an opportunity for true love to happen, because you get to repeat history over and over."

Horner also was eighth in solo acting, for "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe."

Galasso and Henderson placed third in duet acting for "The Guide to Guys."

"It’s going to be a serious contender in upcoming meets. We made a lot of changes to it that they had to adapt to very quickly, but it turned out really well,’" Cohen said.

Henderson added a second-place finish in extemporaneous speaking, and Whitermore also was a finalist in that category.

"It’s amazing to have two kids from our school final in that, which is one of the most challenging categories," Cohen said. "They get half an hour to prepare a five to seven-minute speech on a very current, intense political topic, either domestic or international."

Tia Heywood earned third place in expository speaking. Her topic was sleep deprivation. Cohen noted Heywood competed against more than 20 students in her category, and Bower was seventh out of 46 students in extemporaneous communication.

"These are incredible results, because there were huge pools of kids," Cohen said.

For extemporaneous communication, "You get 20 minutes to prepare a speech, and the topics are not political," he said. "They’re just more, say, philosophical, and you don’t have to be scouring news magazines."

Frank, Smith and White placed third in mime for "Robotics."

"It’s a funny little piece about how you think you’re watching a robot, but the guy controlling the robot turns out to be a robot, and the researcher who was watching the guy controlling the robot, he turns out to be a robot, too."

Galasso, Henderson, Sung Heywood and Whitermore and their version of "Airplane!" received a fourth-place.

In debate, Bower and White won half their matches and topped a Ketchikan team that made the finals. They debated the significance of the national debt.

The DDF team next will head to a Jan. 28-29 tournament in Juneau.

"We’ll be taking 12 kids, probably, from here on in, and that’s what we’re allowed to take to state, so we’re right there, where we need to be," Cohen said. "The pieces are really coming together now and we’re peaking really well, and the kids are very excited about it."

Fundraisers have been scheduled before the mid-February trip to Anchorage for state.

A DDF spaghetti dinner will be Friday from 5-8 p.m. at the Haines School cafeteria. The $10 meal includes spaghetti with red sauce by Leigh Horner, plus salad, brownie and a beverage. Another planned fundraising event is a Feb. 4 dessert auction.