Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

DDF at state meet: No finals qualifiers


Seven of the 10 members of Haines High School’s Drama, Debate and Forensics team traveled to Anchorage last weekend to compete in the state championship.

Although none of the Haines competitors made it to the finals, DDF coach Amanda Randles said she thought it was the team’s strongest year overall. She said she felt the team’s pieces, as a group, placed better than in prior years, and she enjoyed the group dynamics of the trip.

“Our team was really tight, supportive, positive, playful; such good sportsmen, so supportive of each other. We have a good time,” Randles said.

Competing for Haines were Rachel Haas, Mori Hays, Keegan Palmieri, Xixiao White, Taiya Ruggirello, Dylan Chapell and Nathan Haas. Also on the team but not traveling were Rebecca Wheeler, Megan Whitermore and Brandt Alten-Huber.

Randles said the team used regional results to determine which performances would be most competitive at the state level.

Randles said that statewide budget woes have changed the DDF landscape.

“I see other programs falling by the wayside,” Randles said. “When I started, Juneau-Douglas had a team of 45, then it was five, and then it was zero, and they are the biggest school in the Southeast region.”

Randles said the Haines team was cited at the meet’s coaches meeting as an example of a smaller school with solid community support.

The school pays the costs for travel to regional competition, but the team covers costs associated with state competition. The team planned three fundraisers to cover the costs of the Anchorage trip.

The first fundraiser took place earlier this month with a sushi sale. A second fundraiser is scheduled for Sunday, March 12 with public performances and a dessert auction. A third fundraiser will be held on April 1 with more performances and possibly a community debate.

Because of scheduling issues, the team flew to Anchorage instead of driving. “I think we were really tired by the end of it because of the late nights and early morning, but their performances were fantastic,” Randles said.

Mori Hays, who performed a dramatic interpretation titled “Dear Future Generations” by Prince Ea, said he joined DDF this year to improve himself.

“I thought DDF would help me. I had heard from a lot of people that it is a really valuable thing to do and my brother did it, and he really enjoyed it, so I decided to try it out.”

Was it worth it? “Definitely.”


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