DDF Coach Teagan Baldwin works with students Alexis Grieser, Mickey Wilson, Brandy Mayo, and Ian Klupar. Right, Mayo gives her speech. Photos courtesy of Karl Klupar

Mayo takes second and Ellis third in first DDF meet; new coach praises keeping program

By JEFF BRADY

With its season restored, the Skagway Drama, Debate and Forensics team hurriedly prepared for its first meet of the season in Sitka on Nov. 13-14.
Five students made the trip, and two placed, said new coach Teagan Baldwin, who was hired Nov. 10 but had been working as a volunteer after the school board voted in late October to move ahead with the program.
Junior Brandy Mayo finished second in Extemporaneous Commentary, and sophomore Jaycee Ellis finished third in Oration.
Every student had to do an Extemporaneous Commentary piece, in which they draw from three topics and have 20 minutes to prepare a short speech, two to five minutes long. In oration, students prepare an eight to 10 minute speech. Ellis had prepared that speech in advance by herself.
Baldwin said the three other Skagway students, Mickey Wilson, Ian Klupar and Alexis Grieser, teamed up with Mayo and Ellis for a Readers Theatre presentation of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.”
They did not place, as Sitka won most of the awards on their home turf, but Baldwin said it was a good experience for them and they learned a lot.
“I think we did really well for just having a week and a half to two weeks to get ready,” Baldwin said, adding that nine schools were at the meet, making it the largest ever DDF participation in Southeast.
She said John Doland and Elise Doland also are on the team, but could not travel to the Sitka meet.
The next meet is scheduled for Jan. 8-9 in Ketchikan, but it’s not certain if Skagway will go. Volunteers are needed since Baldwin cannot make that trip. Then there is a regional meet in Juneau in February, followed by the state meet in Anchorage in early March, and possibly a district meet later that month.
Baldwin reflected on the importance of the DDF program.
“It is one of the single most important activities to have in high school,” she said. “It has all of the elements of social networking from sports, but it also involves your mind: learning how to speak, learning how to write, learning how to come up with ideas through research.”
She added that the program should be viewed as indispensible.
“It’s empowering, something that involves all of the skills you need in life to go out into the world and problem solve,” she said.

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Volleyball team takes second in seeding tourney, now ready for regionals in Skagway Dec. 4-5

 The Skagway High volleyball team finished second at a recent seeding tournament on Prince of Wales island, and are now preparing for the region tournament here on Dec. 4-5.
The four Southeast 2A girls teams played each other twice Nov. 13-14, once in Thorne Bay and once in Klawock. And the results were the same. Skagway beat Thorne Bay and Hoonah, and lost to Klawock.
Coach Becky Jensen said the team had improved since it last played region rivals at Hoonah in October. Back then they split with the host team, but recently they were able to get solid wins over Hoonah. The final match went five games, she said, and Skagway prevailed on the 24th point. Jensen said Amanda Hoover “played awesome” filling in for starters who were unable to make the trip.
Skagway was short three starters, and still took second seed, but they lost in three straight games to defending champ Klawock. Emily Herbig and Kaylie O’Daniel (training rules violation) and Paige Hahn (medical) will be back in the line-up for next week’s big tournament, and the kids are excited about hosting regionals, Jensen said.
They are hoping for big crowds and lots of noise from the home fans. The tournament kicks off with a match between Hoonah and Skagway next Friday night, and then the rest of the double-elimination play continues Saturday.
Skagway is hoping for at least a second place finish to qualify for state tournament. She said they were also able to work in some games with Haines this month to avoid some down time between tournaments, which helped keep the girls focused.
“They are looking good,” she said. “They’ve been working on serves, and working together.”
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The Skagway wrestling team has been idle the past couple of weeks but will be in action this weekend in Haines. They head to regionals the weekend of Dec. 3-4 at Petersburg. – JB