Juneau-Douglas High School seniors Orion Cohen and Seth Bodine capped off their Debate and Forensics high school careers with first and second place finishes at the Alaska State High School Drama, Debate & Forensics Championships at East High School in Anchorage Feb. 13-15.
Cohen’s original six- to eight-minute composition “The Universe” won first place in the expository speaking category.
Bodine’s second-place win came in the extemporaneous commentary category, in which contestants draw a topic and then have 20 minutes to prepare. Bodine’s draw was a political cartoon featuring the National Security Agency.
Neither speech allowed notes. Students from all around the state competed in the tournament, from Anchorage to Fairbanks, from Western Alaska and Southeast — hundreds of contestants in all. Orion and Seth also competed in debate along with senior Raj Kumar and freshman Summer Putman.
The students’ wins are noteworthy, co-coach Richard Steele said, as they practiced and prepared for meets on their own time, while many of the students they competed against have speech and debate as a class.
All three seniors see college in their future and are well aware of the esteem college admissions offices hold for debate and forensics.
“We’re absolutely overjoyed with their success,” Steele said. “The first and second place wins could not have come to more worthy students.”
Retired teacher Steele coaches the team with veteran social studies teacher Shanna Galluzzo.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Galluzzo said.