With a dozen schools participating in the Dimond High DDF Tournament at Anchorage’s Dimond High School, Homer High School’s Drama Debate and Forensics team brought home an impressive handful of awards:
Second place, duo interpretation: Jonas Noomah and Evan Boyer;
Fourth place, pantomime: Shaefer Nielson and Evan Boyer;
Second place, solo acting: Damon Del Toro;
First place, duet acting: Zane Boyer and Evan Boyer;
Third place, duet acting: Rowyn Cunningham and Nolan Bunting;
Fourth place, readers’ theatre: Audrey Russell, Shenandoah Lush and Nolan Bunting;
Second place, expository speaking: Jonas Noomah;
Fifth place, humorous interpretation: Shaefer Nielson;
Fourth place, public forum debate: Robert Hockema and Jonas Noomah.
“Homer did really well,” said Coach Amy Johnson.
“We had a smaller attendance rate than previously, due to end of the quarter craziness, Nutcracker, Swing Choir, and other things that students are involved in. We only had one senior who was able to attend, and we still did really well. It makes me really excited about the future of DDF at Homer High.”
In addition to the Homer team, about 150 students competed from Bartlett, Chugiak, Dimond, Eagle River, East Anchorage, South Anchorage, West Anchorage, Nikiski, Service, Seward and Whitestone.
While Homer’s entire DDF team wasn’t at the tournament, its home base continues to be strong.
“We have quite a few underclassmen involved in the team,” said Johnson. “Some of them weren’t able to make it to this tournament, but they’re doing well at the other tournaments that they’ve been able to attend.”
Topics the students debate are demanding, requiring research skills and careful preparation in advance.
“The policy topic stays the same year-round,” said Johnson of “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement toward Cuba, Mexico or Venezuela.”
The public forum topic changes each month. December’s was “Resolved: Immigration reform should include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.”
The January topic is “Resolved: Development assistance should be prioritized over military aid in the Sahel region of Africa.”
The Lincoln-Douglas debate topic changes every two months. The one students just finished debating was “Resolved: In the United States criminal justice system, truth-seeking ought to take precedence over attorney-client privilege.” The topic to be addressed next is “Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.”
Cohesiveness is the Homer DDF team’s strong point, according to Johnson.
“They look out for each other, support each other and, in general, just function more as a family than as a team,” she said. “We also work with each other in the peer critique process, so that it’s not just feedback from coaches to improve their pieces, but the upperclassmen work with the underclassmen to help their pieces get better, and their overall stage presence improve. We also perform and compete well, which is a lot of fun.”
After the holidays, the DDF team will head to the East High Tournament in Anchorage, Jan. 17-18.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at email@example.com.