DDF: Not just for thespians and overachievers

• Club offers friendly start to year of drama, debate and forensics
By Sean Pearson
Homer Tribune

HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - A Drama, Debate and Forensics Clinic held this weekend brought new members into training, these from the Homer Middle School. One exercise in drama called for impromptu acting from the more seasoned team members as they showed what can happen - and how much fun is to be had - when students make up their own lines and act what comes natural.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - A Drama, Debate and Forensics Clinic held this weekend brought new members into training, these from the Homer Middle School. One exercise in drama called for impromptu acting from the more seasoned team members as they showed what can happen - and how much fun is to be had - when students make up their own lines and act what comes natural.

For many students, starting something new can be both exciting, and frightening. But when that something new is Drama, Debate and Forensics, the outlet through which students can work through those feelings of anxiety, nervousness and fear is automatically built in.
In her second year with the program — and first as head coach — Amy Christianson is looking for ways to get kids more involved and interested in what’s going on around them.
“When I was in high school, I was on our debate team and did a lot of theatre,” Christianson said. “It seemed like a great way to get involved.”
So Christianson decided to bring back the DDF clinic early in the school year to show students what the program is about, and drum up a little interest.
Christianson took over this year for former coach Kathy Kysar, who moved to Kwethluk this year to teach.
“I mostly coach the drama aspect,” Christianson said. “I’m slowly branching out as I became more familiar with the different events.”
Christianson said the clinic, which offers two classes each on different aspects of drama, debate and forensics, had not been held for a few years. She decided to bring it back as a “really good way to start the season off.”
“The returning high schoolers run all of the classes, so that they get a brief review of everything that’s necessary for their events,” Christianson explained. “The new students get to see everything in action, and hear about it from people who have actually lived through the events.”
According to Christianson, students have said they have a blast at the clinic, and they’re also now a lot more open to the different events.
“I think it opens them up to more things, because they have more experience in all of them now,” she explained.
With the DDF season officially now underway, the first tournament for Homer is just under three weeks away at South High School in Anchorage. The Mariners will compete in seven different tournaments this year, including the State tournament. They are hosting a tournament of their own in Homer on Jan. 14 and 15. Christianson said she has already heard from several Anchorage schools who are looking at coming down to participate in the tourney.
“The kids who are part of DDF are amazing,” she said. “They’re all super energetic and willing to put the time into work.”
Students write full debate cases (policy debate is a 90-minute long debate,) as well as memorize 8-10 minute long drama pieces and work on speeches for student congress and extemporaneous speaking.
“They constantly surprise me in good ways, with their enthusiasm and willingness to try all sorts of different events,” Christianson said. “It’s very fulfilling to work with all of them. And a lot of fun.”

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Posted by on Sep 22nd, 2010 and filed under Youth. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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