Speech and Debate 

 By Layla Herbert 

        CHS has an official Speech and Debate Team! What is speech and debate? It’s an academically competitive event that you can participate in up to a college level. If you are thinking debating isn’t for you, not to worry because there are so many other options for you. If you are interested in poetry or comedy, there are events in which you can participate. Or if you are more of a political person, they have congressional debates where you get to draft your own bill (propose a law).

        Now it might seem like an easy club to get involved in, but these events take a lot of time and preparation. I, along with fellow teammates, had the opportunity to go to MSU in Starkville, for a competition for novices. We had to wake up super early and leave Columbia at 4:30 in the morning. My event was something called impromptu. You get a prompt and have a few minutes to come up with a speech about it. It takes a lot of practice to get comfortable speaking in front of people. We spent all day at MSU and did not make it back till 11 o’clock at night. The experience was invaluable. We got great feedback on how to improve our scores. Speech and debate not only teaches you how to speak formally to people, but also fosters friendships that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Not to mention it looks great on college applications!

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Madrigals Madness

By Mary Turnage

        For those of you who do not know, or have been wondering what a madrigal is, a madrigal dinner is a form of renaissance dinner theatre. These dinners or feasts are usually held at a school or church around Christmas, and they are typically of a comedic nature. They are also typically set in the Middle Ages. The feast is divided into courses of food, each of which is accompanied by a traditional song.

        The madrigal’s group meets every day during third period to rehearse and learn the music and drama in preparation for their show in December. The dinner will be held on Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14 at Calvary Baptist Church. The tickets will be available in November. The cost of the tickets will be $25 per person which includes your meal and a wonderful show.

        The school districts of Gautier and Ocean Springs have both graciously donated things such as props and costumes to the group. The idea of CHS doing a madrigal came about one day when Superintendant Harris and Mrs. Walley, CHS music teacher, were discussing new things that the choir students could do that would both involve the kids and the community.

        In this show Sarah Mason will be the queen, and Colton Sorrell will play the king. There will also be a court jester, two knights, a royal court, and peasants. The peasants, or servers, will consist of the girls choir. Mrs. Walley stated, “I am most looking forward to the relationships that will be made between the students and them getting to experience the feeling of a job well done.”

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Belonging in the Band

By Cat Shields

        You’ve heard it before, probably even seen it on movies. The underdog is one of the least recognized characters in a story or social setting. The underdog almost always ends up becoming something great that no one believed it could. Many times, the underdog takes the struggle by the horns and comes out on top. In the case of high school, many of the sports players are the underdogs. But let’s talk about the Band for a second. The figurative duct tape that seals the cracks in the wall. The whipped cream topping of the banana split that is high school. The geeks, dorks, nerds, popular kids, cheerleaders even, all combined.

        Like any other activity, students from all types of backgrounds gather around and put aside their differences (well, most of them) for once. What separates Band from other activities, though, is the friendship. Band is a family.

        If you don’t make friends, you at least have someone that will greet you every day. Many of the band students are thicker than thieves. Some friends wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for Band. For many, Band is an escape, a complete two hours where the rest of the world disappears and all you have on your plate is knowing the music, where to go, and how to march correctly.

        For those two whole hours, the rest of school doesn’t exist. It is just you and your support system, your buddies, your comrades, all doing their part to make the show flow fluidly.

        Think of it this way. Without the Band, Homecoming would be missing a big part of its culture. The parade wouldn’t have the band in it and there would be no halftime shows to at least give you something interesting to watch or listen to while you smear nacho grease on your jeans. The school would be missing a part of its foundation.

        According to an anonymous band member, “Band is tough but worth it.”

        Band can be hard to deal with after a long day of sitting in class listening to long lectures because you’re tired and ready to go home, but it is so worth it to make new friends, push your limits, better yourself as a person, and have a strong sense of belonging.

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Band State Champs

By Drayton Purvis

        From the hot summer days of July to the equally hot days of October, Columbia High School’s Marching Band worked countless hours each week with one goal in mind: a state championship. Everyday two hour practices, Tuesday night two hour practices, individualized sectionals, occasional Saturday two hour practices, and weekly competitions are just some of the ways that the Marching Wildcats prepared for the gold. In the summer of 2015, Columbia High School appointed Reuben McDowell’s successor, Mrs. Leslie Lawrence-Fortenberry as band director. Fortenberry is very goal-oriented as she works tirelessly on the halftime show each year. Falling short of the gold medal for the past three years, she decided that losing state was not an option for the 2018 marching season. Fortenberry prepared student leaders during the summer to teach new members not only how to march, but how to work hard and push through the heat. Fortenberry stated, ¨For me, I believe the key is the bond that your entire program has with one another. At camp, we start to learn who everyone really is and we start to create a family bond, which is our overall goal every year. To me, this year started off differently. Everyone got along,  everyone strived for excellence, and everyone put their hearts into the group this year. By the end of the season, I didn't see different groups, I saw a unity of students and leaders. I 100% believe this is the key. In the end, it is all about the students. As long as students come first and everyone enjoys what they are doing and are having fun, a placement is just that, a placement. Its the process and amount of growth that is the real reward in the end.”

        Thankfully, Columbia High School met their goal of 3A State Champions with the show “Totem: Earth, Water, Fire.” The hard work that was put into this show was not wasted as the band crowded around the 1st place trophy, which was taller than the Drum Major, Madison Bullock. Fortenberry explained, ¨So many things were running through my head… I knew that we had extremely tough competition… and I knew that we worked the hardest this year out of the seven years that I have been here. After they called out the 2nd Place band [Booneville], I was relieved, shocked, and most of all, proud. For a group of students to come together in July (from all different types of backgrounds and all with a different story) and work their tails off every single day- I was so happy that they got the gold medal around their necks. This has been the best group of students I could have ever asked for.¨

        Finally, the trophy that the Marching Wildcats had been longing for for three years, is back home in Herington Band Hall. Other trophies that the Wildcats brought home were 3rd place colorguard, 1st place percussion, 3rd place general effect, 1st place visual, and 1st place music. Columbia High School unseated the incumbent Booneville, 5 time consecutive 3A Champions on October 27, 2018 with a score of 80.950.

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CHS to Perform The Little Mermaid

By Brennan Wells

        The annual CHS musical has been an exciting tradition for a very long time and this year’s production is set for March 1st and 2nd. For many of us, our parents can relate to the feeling of acting, dancing, and singing our hearts out to the audience in the Crystelle Ford auditorium, because they also participated during their high school years. This year CHS is keeping the excitement alive by performing Disney’s The Little Mermaid. 

        The musical is about a young mermaid who has a fascination with the surface world above her. She collects human items and enjoys learning about the culture of the human world. After meeting the Prince, she falls in love and desperately searches for a way to be with him. She meets Ursula who presents her a deal: three days as a human in which if she kisses Prince Eric she will fully become human, but if she fails her soul will belong to Ursula. The catch is that Ariel will lose her voice. Ariel accepts the challenge. 

        What follows is a turn of events that is bound to keep you on the edge of your seat!

        Although the students give it their all to put on an amazing show for all the fans, the musical could not exist without the overwhelming guidance and support that the team of directors puts forth. They pour their hearts and souls into their work to breathe life into each and every  movement and line. Ultimately, what makes the musical such a smashing success is the fans supporting it. So, mark your calendars. Tickets can be purchased online beginning in February! See you there!

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