October 13, 2011 |

Bears speakers debut in Juneau

The Haines High School Drama, Debate and Forensics team attended its first meet of the season Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Juneau.

"Haines got off to one of its fastest starts in years," said coach Gershon Cohen.

Participating schools included Juneau-Douglas, Ketchikan, Mount Edgecumbe, Sitka, Thunder Mountain and Wrangell.

Haines brought a small squad of eight students because a few members were competing in cross-country running.

Sophomore Polly Bryant, one of four Haines students competing in their first DDF tournament, took second place in solo acting against 34 competitors.

Fellow rookie Margarette Jones, a junior, placed third in humorous interpretation.

Veteran juniors Royal Henderson and Brennon Whitermore gave strong performances in extemporaneous speaking, where each student is given 30 minutes to compose a five-to-seven minute speech on a complicated foreign or domestic affairs topic. Whitermore finished second, and Henderson was fourth.

Haines had one entry in readers’ theater and made the finals with the team of sophomores Zeke Frank and Kai Sato-Franks, Bryant and Whitermore.

Cohen said the Haines debate teams "also put the rest of the Southeast schools on notice."

Sophomore Eli White and Whitermore won three out of four matches, tying for the second-best record out of 20 teams in the preliminary rounds, missing the cut for the final debate by two speaker points.

Twins Patrick and Royal Henderson debated together for the first time, and won two of their four matches.

"Patrick only joined the team a week before the tournament, and it was Royal’s first tournament as second speaker," Cohen said. "The Henderson team will clearly be a serious contender in every meet the rest of the season."

The full DDF team, which will include seniors Emily Bowman, Cassie Galasso and Elena Horner, junior Tia Heywood, sophomore Isobel Smith and freshman Zayla Asquith-Heinz, will travel to Wrangell in mid-November.