Homer sends 21 DDF participants to tournament

The 21 Homer High School students participating in Bartlett High School’s DDF tournament last week came home with a fist-full of impressive finishes and the accolades of Coach Amy Johnson.

“I’m very proud of all of our students,” said Johnson. “We were missing a couple of our upper classmen at this tournament due to other conflicts and everyone who was there stepped up and filled in the team.”

With Homer students competing individually, in pairs and in teams, the awards included:

First place, duet acting
Hailey Nelsen and
Lindsey Schneider;

Second place, duet acting:

Robert Hockema and
Eryn Gillam;

Fifth place, duet acting:

Carly McLean and Iustina Kuznetsov;

Sixth pace, solo acting:

Hailey Nelsen;

Fourth place, readers’ theatre:
Sabina Karwowski, Owen Duffy
and Shaefer Nielson;

Fourth place, foreign
extemporaneous speaking:

Lindsey Schneider;

First place, pantomime:

Sabina Karwowski and
Sydney Paulino;

Fifth place, humorous

Matthew Meyer.


“It’s been really nice this year to watch the team form a cohesive unit, and start to function as a team that is always pushing everyone to be better,” said Johnson.

The newly formed Nikolaevsk team sat out this competition.

“We have some work to do, but they are still working on it for future meets,” said Coach Heather Pancratz.

A joint effort among DDF teams may expand the field of participants. With a little technological boost and some help from Johnson, remote schools may have an opportunity to sharpen their debate, drama and forensic talents. 

“A while ago, I was approached by Nathan Coutsoubos from Dillingham, who is working on starting a team at his high school,” said Johnson. “They are unable to make it to Anchorage to compete at tournaments other than the state tournament due to the cost of travel. I am working to set up a Skype/Polycom (just different technologies) tournament, involving some Homer students, as well as Nikolaevsk and Dillingham.”

Although there are other avenues for Dillingham to participate, Johnson said this would provide “a chance to see what sort of pieces they will be competing with when they get to state.”

Kenny Lake is another outlying area interested in starting a DDF team.

“If they are available, of course they would also get to participate,” said Johnson.

The use of technology increases the overall number of schools and students competing, the opportunity for Homer students to work with and help other students be successful, and the ability to participate on site without having to travel, she said. 

“It also gives Homer judges a chance to judge something this year,” said Johnson. “We don’t need as many as in the past, but it’s a good chance to stay involved since we should have another tournament next school year.”

Anyone interested in being a DDF judge can contact Johnson at the high school, 235-4600.

The next DDF tournament will be at Dimond High School in Anchorage, Dec. 6-7.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.