Category Archives: DDF

From Getting Laughed at, to 10th in Speaker points

Eduardo Gomez/Staff Writer

”Don’t worry Eddie, they might be laughing because they won right now, but everyone does bad in their first debate, use this as a learning experience and at the end of the season, we’ll be the ones laughing at them.”

Yes, literally laughing, while I was giving a speech.

After the humiliating three losses in my first meet, I realized that I’ll always be bad when I start something new, and that’s fine. But instead of quitting, I looked forward to the next meet so I could do better.

 For the next meet, unfortunately I got COVID-19, so I was locked in my room, and with nothing else to do, I researched for hours to prepare for the debate. Finally when the meet came, my partner was Henry again and this time he forced me to try different things so I could really grow as a debater. Henry and I won five of our six debates that meet.

 At this point, I wasn’t doing debate for my speaking skills, I fell in love with the process of being able to deconstruct other people’s arguments with my own words. The next upcoming meet was regions. The resolve was “On balance, the benefits of urbanization in West Africa outweigh the harms”. When I initially heard this, I had zero clue about what I would build my arguments on.

 With the newly acquired competitive drive I had, I wanted to do very well in regions. Unfortunately, my partner Braxton Zink and I didn’t do as well as we wanted. We only won three of our six debates, which on paper, sounds like a good record, but we wanted to be the best.

 Luckily, in debate, everyone is allowed to compete in the state tournament. At state, we had the same partners and same resolve. With the mental beating we took at regions, we persevered to become one of the best teams in the state tournament. After countless hours of research and preparation, I was ready. Braxton and I started off very strong with a 4-0 record going into the 5th round.

 That is when we encountered one of the best teams in the state coming from South Anchorage, we lost in the 5th round but still qualified for the quarter finals where we lost to the same team again. 

In the end, we finished 8th in the tournament. Personally, I placed 10th for speaker points, being the only first year debater in the top 10 throughout the state. I did get the last laugh after Henry and Bella decimated the duo that laughed at me in the beginning of the season.

DDF Takes 2nd at State

Dyllan Borer/Staff Writer

DDF competed in the state tournament over the weekend and came in second place. Kayhi had both of the teams in the final debate for the Public Forum tournament. 

Senior Captain Henry Clark and Junior Captain Bella Kershaw faced Seniors Evelynn Nutt and Francis Sherman in the final debate. They ended up being co-champions.

Kershaw is a new member to the DDF team, she recently moved to Ketchikan this summer. She participated in debate in Spokane for her High School. Her team did a different style of debate known as Lincoln Douglas. 

Kershaw liked the change, it was relieving having a partner for her and getting to learn about more topics. 

“The team here is a lot closer, more fun, more competitive,” said Kershaw. “I’m learning a lot more about the topics, it’s less competitive, and not as stressful.”

Clark was awarded the Alaska State DDF Student of the year. He also came in 1st for overall speaker points and 6th for Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking. 

Other coaches told me to nominate him, said Coach David Mitchel. He is very well respected around the Southeast, no one has gotten that much respect in a while. 

“He doesn’t attack, always afterwards being very encouraging and supportive,” said Mitchell about Clark. “Certainly always watching other peoples throughout the southeast and being so nice.”

South won the overall tournament for Large Schools. They have a big program usually made up of 30 to 40 kids and compete in all the categories.

Mitchel said South is a strong team and usually has to cut their team down for state and is made up of only juniors and seniors most of the time. It was a big accomplishment to do so well with not competing in all the categories.

“For us to only have debate and some speaking activities and being able to take second against a school like South is great,” said Mitchel.

Debate team back from a successful state tournament

Leah Call
Staff Writer

DDF has returned from their last meet of the season. The state tournament in Juneau was a success not only for the team as a whole- they took third place for the tournament overall- but also for individual members on the team. 

Senior and first year member Connor Wodehouse placed first out of 58 participants in Speaker Points, which is the rating given by the judges in the Public Forum Debate based on how well they speak. 

Sophomore Dawson Abel is a first year member and managed to place 2nd overall in the informative speech category. While working on his speech, which was about the importance of the Soviet Union in World War II, Abel said he grew more confident in his ability as a speaker and passionate about public speaking as a whole. 

“I was very underprepared in the beginning but as I got more into my speech, it became a passion of mine,” Abel said. “I worked on this speech throughout the semester and the season and got lots of feedback on how to improve it. Hearing I won was a really cool moment and it felt really well-deserved.”

Senior and third year member Brendon Roof placed third overall in the Extemporaneous Speaking category of the meet. 

“All I have to say about it is…finally,” Roof said. “I think in this specific event, I have improved so much. After lots of work my sophomore and junior year, I finaled in every single meet this year. Mr. Mitchel gives the ideas and the tools you need to be successful, but ultimately it’s on you to prepare. I’m super lucky I finaled but it really came down to how well I prepared beforehand.” 

The season has now ended and will start back up again at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. 

State Results -5th place and above

Public Forum Debate, Team Results: (Out of 29 teams)
Henry Clark/Jared Valentine 4th
Nicole West/Brendan Roof 5th

Individual Debate Speaker Points (58 Participants)
Connor Wodehouse 1st
Jackson Kaye 4th

Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking (21 Participants)
Brendan Roof 3rd

Informative Speaking (31 Contestants)
Dawson Abel 2nd

DDF heads to Juneau for state tournament

Leah Call
Staff Writer

The debate team will be sending 15 students, including eight seniors to Juneau to compete against other debaters from all over Alaska.

They will flying out today after school and arriving later tonight. Members will be competing Thursday evening until the finals public forum debate on Saturday afternoon. 

For all senior members it will be the last debate meet of their high school career. 

Senior Brendon Roof said this upcoming weekend is where all the work he has done the past three years in debate will all be worth it. 

“The pressure is definitely on, now more than ever,” Roof said. “After three years of learning how to speak and write more efficiently, it’s all culminating into this one weekend. It all comes down to this.” 

This will be the last tournament of the season and it will be hard to beat last year, where a Kayhi team took home the overall 2nd place title for public forum debate. 

Team captain Dave Mitchel said he is feeling confident about the team’s chances at a state title. 

 “I’m feeling very optimistic,” said Mitchel. “We’ve done everything we can to prepare for this meet, so now it all depends on how well they perform.”

Members will be competing in the same events, categories and with the same topics as the home tournament two weekends ago. 

Ketchikan Hosts DDF Regional Tournament

Leah Call
Staff Writer

Kayhi’s DDF team took 2nd place, missing out on the overall 1st place for best competing debate team to Sitka High School at the annual regional tournament this past weekend at Kayhi. However, many individuals did well in their respective categories.

Junior Phillip Smith and senior Connor Wodehouse placed 1st in Duet Acting with a command performance. Senior Jared Valentine and junior Henry Clark took 3rd in the Public Forum Debate category-the main event.

1st place winner, Smith said it took some time to perfect their act.

 “I feel really good about mine and Connor’s performance this weekend,” Smith said. “We definitely improved as we went through the rounds. The first round was a little rough, but as we went moved up we got more confident and by the end we knew what we needed to do to make our performance stand out.”

Semifinals for the main event, public forum debate, began at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Valentine and Clark competed in the semifinal against Sitka members, Darby Osbourne and Anja Brooks-Shmidt. The topic-or resolve- of the debate was, “the United States should replace means-tested welfare programs with a universal basic income aka UBI”. Valentine and Clark argued the affirmative side of the debate, but ended up losing the debate and took 3rd place. 

“It was a really good debate,” Clark said. “I really appreciated that a lot of people came to watch. It wasn’t just my parents and members of the team, but there was also people from the community. The results were obviously a little disappointing, but overall it was a debate that challenged me, which I appreciated.”

85 students from 7 southeast schools had been preparing since Jan. 1 when the topic was released, and competed Friday and Saturday to determine who from each team goes to the state tournament in Juneau on Feb. 14. 

Public Forum Debate, Team Results:
3rd Place- Henry Clark/Jared Valentine

Individual Debate Speaker Points
Henry Clark- 5th
Jackson Kaye- Tied 5th
Dametre Martin- Tied 5th
Braxton Zink- Tied 5th

Extemporaneous Commentary
3rd- Henry Clark

Extemporaneous Speaking
3rd- Jackson Kaye

Informative Speaking
3rd- Jackson Kaye

Original Oratory
5th- Dametre Martin

Duet Acting
1st Place- Phillip Smith and Connor Wodehouse

Duo Interpretation
3rd Place- Jared Valentine & Brendan Roof

DDF prepares for home meet

Leah Call
Staff Writer

Debate will be hosting a meet at Kayhi Jan. 24 and 25. 

Sophomore Nicole West, believes the team is ready. 

“This is about the time of year when everyone is really starting get the hang of it,” she said. “So I feel like we are definitely prepared for this meet, and we’re ready to take into finals.” 

DDF generally hosts one meet a year. Schools from all over Southeast will be travelling to Ketchikan to compete. It lasts for two days where competitors do nothing but debate, orate, and act. They have been working with their partners since the beginning of Christmas break. 

Senior Brendon Roof said that this year was the year of acting. Many members have prepared acts to showcase including a skit of the SNL Kavanaugh hearing. 

Roof explains his growth on the team from his first year to now. 

“I think I did fairly well for a rookie on the team my sophomore year,” Roof said. “Junior year I improved a lot in my case writing and now, as a senior, I just roll with it and have a lot of fun. 

Tickets for their annual fundraiser will consist of dinner, dessert and a showcase of the pieces that will be taken to their meet the next weekend in the Kayhi Commons this Friday night. Tickets are $10 and the money raised will go toward their trip to Juneau for state in February.

DDF Heads to Juneau

Nadire Zhuta
Staff Writer

The Kayhi Drama, Debate and Forensics team is heading to Juneau this Friday. The team will compete against teams such as Skagway, Sitka, Juneau and Haines

Senior Bella Roberts said that Kayhi always seems to do good at any meet and is confident in her team.

“Ketchikan usually walks away with good results and scores at meet,” said Roberts. “I’m pretty confident that we’ll do just fine.” 

DDF team members take first in public forum debate

Leah Call
Staff Writer

Jared Valentine and Henry Clark beat teammates Jackson Kaye and Carter Thomas in the final debate in Skagway last weekend. Valentine continued his first place record in duet acting with Brendon Roof. 

Kaye, Thomas, Valentine and Clark battled for the first place title in front of all debate participants. The resolve-or topic-of the debate was that the benefits of the US federal government use of offensive cyberoperations outweighs the harms. Ultimately, Valentine and Clark won and became the meets’ first place winners. 

“It was a lot more stressul than a regular debate,” said Valentine. “Not because they were necessarily better, but because of the bragging rights on the line. Either team would never let it go if they won. Henry and I haven’t abused the bragging rights yet, but it is nice to know we don’t have to hear about us losing either.” 

Thomas however, felt less stress for the upcoming debate. 

“This is the first time we’ve ever had two Kayhi teams in the final. There was a little less stress, because we have competed in class against each other. We knew their debating style beforehand.” 

Valentine’s first place title was an impressive accomplishment considering he had never performed a drama piece before. 

“I have never done a drama piece like that before,” Valentine said. “Brendon and I memorized it on the ferry over. We went in, improvved all the actions, and somehow took first overall, with a command performance.”  Valentine and his partner Brendon Roof performed the Kavanaugh Hearing skit from SNL.

The team spent the past month getting ready for the meet and all their hard work paid off. 

Of the members of the team, eleven placed in the top ten in at least one of the categories they competed in. 

Their next meet will take place on December 13 & 14. For more info on scoring for each event, visit the site below.


Public Forum Debate
1st Place- Henry Clark/Jared Valentine
2nd Place- Carter Thomas/Jackson Kaye
3rd Place- Brendan Roof/Nicole West
7th- Dametre Martin/Ashley Anzueto
9th – Francis Sherman/Phillip Smith

Individual Debate Speaker Points 
2nd- Henry Clark
3rd- Carter Thomas, Jared Valentine (tied)
4th- Jared Valentine
7th- Dametre Martin
8th- Jackson Kaye

Extemporaneous Commentary 
2nd – Henry Clark
4th- Nicole West

Extemporaneous Speaking 
5th- Brendan Roof
6th- Jackson Kaye
7th- Carter Thomas

Informative Speaking
3rd- Jackson Kaye
6th- Axel Hugo

Original Oratory
6th- Carter Thomas

Duet Acting
1st Place- Jared Valentine/Brendan Roof
4th Place- Braxton Zink/Dametre Martin

Duo Interpretation
5th Place- Erin Shea & Francis Sherman

Reader’s Theater
3rd- Nicole West, Ashley Anzueto, Dametre Martin, Philip Smith, Axel Hugo

DDF Heads to Skagway

Nadire Zhuta
Staff Writer

The Kayhi Drama,  Debate and Forensics team is headed to Skagway this Thursday to compete against Sitka, Juneau (JDHS and TMHS), Petersburg, Skagway, and Haines. Senior captain Carter Thomas is looking forward to this weekend in Skagway.

“We have a very talented team and I think that we will do very good this weekend individually and as a team,” said Thomas. 

The team will compete all day Friday and Saturday. 

DDF 2nd, ACDC 4th at State

Kayhi’s Debate, Drama, and Forensics team finished 2nd in the state tournament in Anchorage this weekend.
DDF’s highest finisher was the team of Jackson Kaye and Henry Clark, who placed 2nd overall out of 40 teams in Public Forum Debate.
“We lost in the final debate by a 3-4 decision,” said Kaye. “Despite being so close, it was a really successful weekend and I’m happy where we finished considering all the hard work we’ve done this season.”

ASAA State DDF Results
Team Debate Sweepstakes- Large School: 2nd Place
Public Forum Debate:
2nd Place- Henry Clark & Jackson Kaye (Lost final on a 4-3 judge vote)
Quarter Finalists (tied 5th place): Abbigail Gaugler and Jacob King, Seth Chernick and Nicole West
3-2 Record: Brendan Roof and Carter Thomas
3-2 Record: Jared Valentine and Chris Brown

Speaker Points:
1st Brendan Roof,
3rd Chris Brown,
5th Henry Clark

Original Oratory:
9th Place- Carter Thomas
11th Place- Dametre Martin

Informative Speaking:
12th Place- Abbigail Gaugler

Domestic Extemporaneous:
11th- Brendan Roof

Foreign Extemporaneous:
10th- Chris Brown

Extemporaneous Commentary:
4th- Henry Clark
8th- Nicole West

Reader’s Theater
7th- Seth Chernick, Brendan Roof, Jared Valentine, Henry Clark


Kayhi’s Academic Decathlon (ACDC) team finished 4th overall out of 14 schools in Anchorage over the weekend. They also finished 2nd in the super quiz.
“It was a good weekend for us,” said Senior John Luke Calderon “We were happy with how we performed and it was a good feeling ending my last year on a positive note.”
The subject over the state meet was “The 1960s: A Transformational Decade.”
The competition was over two days, made up of 10 tests covering literature, art, science, music, social science, mathematics, and economics.

Evelyn Nutt:  Bronze – Essay
John Luke Calderon: Bronze – Interview
Phillip Smith: Gold – Interview
Dan Neufeldt: Gold – Science, Gold – Interview
Mackenzie Fousel: Bronze – Economics, Bronze – Science, Silver – Art, Silver – Social Science, Gold – Music