On Commencement: Going on Your Own Adventure
Written by Rodney J. Marshall, Ed.D.
"…I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone," Gandalf says to Bilbo at the opening of The Hobbit.
To this, Bilbo replies, "We don't want any adventures here, thank you! You might try over The Hill or across The Water." By this, he meant that the conversation was at an end.
After an unexpected party with the dwarves in which Bilbo repeatedly says No! to going on such an adventure, he awakens the next morning and realizes he cannot pass up the opportunity. So off he scampers into the journey. Before long he falls into the cave of Gollum and wonders what to do in the dark.
What is the answer to the riddle?
It cannot be seen, cannot be felt
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after
Ends life, Kills laughter.
"Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!" So up he got and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter” (The Hobbit, Riddles in the Dark).
You might feel a little like Bilbo right now. Perhaps you are thinking, “I don’t want any adventures.” I just graduated! Can’t I take a break? I’ve been in school forever. I just want to kick back and enjoy life for a while.
Then again you might be thinking “On we go!” I’ll be off to the mainland or have my own place and it will be exciting. What an adventure life will become.
“[Bilbo] often used to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep and every path was its tributary. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to” (Frodo Baggins about Bilbo, The Fellowship of the Ring, Three is Company).
Undoubtedly, each of you are “going out of your door;” and “stepping into the Road.” Be sure to “keep your feet…” and don’t lose your balance. Spend your days in fellowship with God, humming a psalm a hymn or a spiritual song all day every day. Choose your friends wisely, for “bad company corrupts good morals,” and as they say, “we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time.”
You might know exactly where you think you are going. You have the next 50 years mapped out right up to retirement. You might not have any idea what to do. God has a plan for each of you to discover.
Historian Will Durant states, “Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing things historians usually record; while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks...”
Most people live good faithful lives on the river banks. But, from time to time much is thrust upon you.
It was the age of the Vikings when Alfred inherited the crown of Wessex (the kingdom of England). When he was about your age his older brother died and Alfred faced war immediately. The Danish Vikings swept up the Thames toward London in their dragon boats pillaging the peaceful English farms, villages and monasteries in their quest for farmable land. Threatened with genocide, Alfred, a man of Christian piety, policy and skill at arms painted his face and led his Saxon countrymen straight into the plunderers. After years of war, Alfred defeated the invaders at the Battle of Edington in 878.
Alfred would have the gospel preached to his enemies after defeating them in battle and would baptize them into the Christian Faith. Some say Olaf, King of Norway converted to the Christian Faith in this way while leading Viking raids in England. Upon his return, King Olaf led a great conversion of the people of Norway and Iceland to the Christian religion. Meanwhile Alfred reestablished his nearly destroyed kingdom, and established English Common Law. He restored scholarship, learning and monasteries, learned to read Latin himself and opened Christian schools. In his History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Sir Winston Churchill said, “King Alfred saved Christianity for England.” Truly, he earned the title Great.
Who knows whether you will live peacefully on the riverbanks or be swept into saving others in crisis. I am confident you will meet your challenge. We really do not know all that will come after tonight. And yet, with Frodo we say, “I will take the Ring though I do not know the way” (Frodo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Council of Elrond).
Aloha and God be with you.
The TCS Drama program is proud to present Oscar Wilde's classic play:
The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People
Friday and Saturday, April 20, 21, 27, 28 | Doors open at 6, the show starts at 6:15pm
Trinity Christian School Sanctuary 875 Auloa Rd, Kailua
Purchase tickets online or at the door.
Let us entertain you with The Importance of Being Earnest.
Theatre is the portrayal on stage the truths of our world’s reality—beauty, pain, laughter, fear, heroism, foolishness, tragedy, and joy. Even if that portrayal is an absurd one, plays can reflect our humanity. Students of drama learn self-discipline, teamwork, physical movement and stage presence. Family and friends are given the chance to laugh or simply be moved in a way that only theater is able to bring about.
This Victorian play gently jests at the societal mores surrounding love and marriage at the end of the nineteenth century. Our stellar cast embodies the characters with great charm, as we are taken into a story that shows just how silly people are. Add large hats, lots of muffins, and a happy ending, and you’re sure to love this play!
The Importance of Being Earnest first opened in London in 1895 and is considered the ultimate culmination of Oscar Wilde’s artistic career. The upper-class protagonist creates a fictitious alter-ego in order to escape his social obligations, but somehow ends up with more than he bargained for. Funny banter between the characters and improbable twists in the plot result in a preposterous story that is fun for the whole family. This popular work that has been continually revived and produced in movie form as well over the years.
Senior Sam Gilbert actually started his Drama career at Trinity as Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest as an 8th grader. In this, his last high school play, Sam is Student Director and is masterfully portraying Algernon one last time. It has been truly wonderful to watch Sam hone his craft and grow into such a passionate and dedicated actor. His physical acting skills, attention to detail and ability to represent complex human emotion make him a brilliant example to the younger thespians. Sam has starred in Trinity plays for five years, and we will miss his talented portrayals once he is off to college.
Senior Lenya Goda rounds out her time on the Trinity Stage portraying the frightening Lady Bracknell. This disapproving character throws a wrench into the love-lives of the protagonist and his betrothed. She starred in Pygmalion as Eliza last Fall, and over the last few years has played a British housewife, a Matchmaker, a Shakespearian servant and a grumpy old lady. She again plays that role masterfully as wrinkles will once again adorn her face in Earnest.
Our brave Middle School cast members Luke Dart, Faith Gordon and Ben Hilpert are breaking into theatre with wide-eyed enthusiasm. It is exciting to watch the younger students learn stage craft and work on accents. Notably, four Freshmen make up a robust ensemble in the Drama program with lead roles in the Spring play. Caden Gerstenberger, Gabby Stonebraker, Laura Dart and Mariah Morgado are shooting stars on the rise and have certainly earned their time in the spotlight. These passionate actors have been in multiple productions and have a hunger for the stage. They are all growing in their acting and storytelling abilities and provide such promise to our program.
We hope you’ll join us for an evening of high farce and witty dialogue to support our actors, cast and crew. The Trinity Drama Department will once again venture onto the stage, bringing written words to life for your entertainment, having tirelessly prepared, adjusting each gesture and expression to bring out the nuances of Wilde’s most enduringly popular play.
Why Speech and Debate Matters: Part 4
Written by Rachel Leong, Class of 2016
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,
“Speech is power, speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”
I was terrified to take Speech and Debate. My heart leapt out of my chest, my knees would shake, and my palms would perspire every time I thought about it. A required class that involved arguing competitively? No thank you. Politics? That scares me. Waltzing around in suits in Hawai’i humidity? Hello, stress sweat.
However, once I got past my first tournament in Junior Varsity (JV) Policy discussing economic engagement with Cuba and medical tourism, I realized professional arguing was not as terrifying as I thought it would be. A few laughs here and there from not understanding political terms and pretending like I did made the process not only educational, but lighthearted and fun. From that memorable first round saying, “It’s for the children” multiple times in my concluding speech, I grew and was massively pushed out of my comfort zone all the way to the state tournament in JV Policy in my sophomore year of high school. After one year in debate, I tried my hand at the speech side of the forensics world and fell in love.
I competed in Dramatic Interpretation (DI), Humorous Interpretation (HI), Duo Interpretation (DUO), and Original Oratory (OO). These categories allowed me to play writer, director, choreographer, and actress all in one, with all the creative liberties I could dream of. Speeches ranged from acting out “Bridge to Terabithia” (DUO), to a consolidated version of my senior thesis (OO), to my Nationally-successful piece discussing “Society’s Lack of Authenticity and Fear of Vulnerability” (OO). I felt like I could convey whatever message I wanted to, in the exact way I wanted to. I could curate a piece that was mine.
Needless to say, I was completely hooked for my last two years in high school.
When I became immersed in speech, my aim was to put my entire heart into every single tournament and get that trophy. As the tournaments progressed, I was met with a different reason than success. My coach discussed with me how I was representing not just the school, but the morals and values of a Christian in a secular league. The way I was competing was not the traditional way to succeed in the NSDA, but regardless, I was doing well. I chose to refine skill, content, and wit rather than falling prey to the flash, crass, and cliché that was so easy to win with. I refrained from using any profanity or crude language in a category that thrives on that for success. This shocked multitudes of people who knew that Humorous Interpretation was not a category for many who proclaimed to be Christians. And through God’s will, I won the State title and competed in Nationals with a completely clean piece. Getting that far did not make logical sense. This was when I knew I was a part of something that was out of my control. I began to understand that my skills and abilities brought me to a platform where my role was larger than just little ole’ me.
While my knees still shook and my palms still sweat, I knew that the Lord would speak through however I performed. Terror became a trust in an understanding that this was what I was supposed to say, to this audience, at this moment. Junior year, I won 1st place in Humorous Interpretation, qualified for Nationals and 4th in Dramatic Interpretation. My senior year, I won 2nd in Original Oratory, qualified for Nationals, 3rd in Duo Interpretation and the District Student of the Year Award. While these titles can seem impressive, from the beginning I had learned that nothing I achieved was due to my own abilities. God was using my achievements as a platform for His light and His love.
"I began to understand that my skills and abilities brought me to a platform where my role was larger than just little ole’ me."
It was all for one goal. To embody, speak, and live out the values of Jesus in an otherwise obsessive, achievement-driven world—to speak truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Specifically, in Original Oratory, I found the Lord using me as a vessel for His truth. I worked hard, yes, but I knew that I had to do what He was leading me to do. I made it to the Top 60 in the nation in Oratory. Why? I wholeheartedly believe it is because the people in each of my rounds, leading up to that final room, needed to hear the words the Lord spoke through my mouth.
Fast forward to being a college sophomore, and I am no longer competing in Speech and Debate. Currently I am studying Organizational Communication, minoring in Sociology, and working as an Educational Programs Intern in the Intercultural Life Department, advocating for justice in faith, specifically in areas of racial reconciliation. I invested myself in these areas after seeing the empowerment of young leaders in the NSDA. These were world changers, 16- and 17- year olds, who were starting organizations advocating for women of color, those differently-abled, women in STEM fields, men not fitting the societal masculine mold, the hurt, the oppressed, the poor, the people God calls Christians to intentionally work on loving well. I garnered a heart for the marginalized and oppressed after the Lord “broke my heart for what broke His,” to speak out and remind followers of Christ that loving others does not mean avoidance of the hard and uncomfortable.
"I wholeheartedly believe it is because the people in each of my rounds,
leading up to that final room, needed to hear the words
the Lord spoke through my mouth."
On a daily basis, I use the skills I learned during my time in speech and debate for almost everything. Every speech I give with ease, every controversial conversation I think through cautiously and have the confidence to discuss it came from the long nights of drilling facts into my head, memorization and after-school meetings. Debate gave me the mindset and critical thinking to thoroughly examine life issues, instead of blindly believing everything I hear. Speech gave me a voice to speak out and stand for what I believe in. I would not, I repeat, would not be in this position if I did not have the confidence and tools Speech and Debate gave me.
Just like the characters in The Wizard of Oz, I feel like I gained a heart, brain, courage, and a home. Speech and Debate was by far one of my most favorite memories in high school, and equipped me best for taking on the world.
I will always be an advocate for the values and experience that speech and debate cultivates in students, and I believe that every high schooler will reap more than they realize. Everything that I have accomplished, every plaque, every trophy, every ballot—I attribute it all the Creator who has formed me exactly in this way for the purposes of furthering His Kingdom. His instilling of passions and abilities is only using me as a vessel and testament to His goodness.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” —Ephesians 3:20-21
A Class of 2016 alumna, Rachel Leong attended Trinity starting in 2008. Now in her second year at George Fox University, Rachel is an Organizational Communications major and Sociology minor. In the future, she hopes to possibly start a Christian non-profit or get her PhD in anticipation of being a Professor in Intercultural Studies (and own a dachshund).
Why Speech and Debate Matters: Part 2
By Danielle Schum, '17
As a middle schooler at Trinity, I knew that I was eventually going to have to take Trinity's Speech and Debate elective and I didn't really know what it meant. Also, the only view I had received of the class was not particularly exciting view because it wasn't people's favorite class. Towards the end of my eighth-grade year, our former speech and debate coach asked students to volunteer to time keep for the rounds of the state tournament. I watched some of our alumni compete and it inspired me to want to join. I stuck with the Speech and Debate team for four years because I loved the platform of being able to express my ideas in rational ways and look at important issues from all sides.
My first year in Debate I participated in Junior Varsity Policy Debate and it was a quite an adventure. Our topic was whether or not the US Federal Government should increase economic and/or diplomatic engagement with Cuba, Mexico, or Venezuela. Competitors in this category must write a case to provide a solution to the resolution including an issue that needs to be solved within the topic, a well-researched achievable plan, and advantages to their particular plan. In addition, they must also be well-researched to refute other teams' plans and show logic to prove and connect their evidence. For the next three years I advanced to Varsity Policy and gained a very strong work ethic and persistent will. In my junior year at Trinity, I finally dipped into the speech side with Humorous Interpretation (HI) and was instantly connected. HI was my favorite category and I competed in it for two years. I also tried Original Oratory and Congressional Debate and wish that I had more time to explore those categories.
"I stuck with the Speech and Debate team for four years because I loved the platform of being able to express my ideas in rational ways and look at important issues from all sides."
I qualified to the Hawaii State Speech and Debate Tournament once in Junior Varsity Policy and once in Humorous Interpretation. Every year that I participated in debate, I attended the Big Island Tournament at Parker School and that tournament is so helpful for team bonding. With a closer team, students compete better.
I always knew I wanted to stick with Speech and Debate both out of love for it and because I discovered scholarships for it. I've been competing on the Concordia Irvine Speech Team for a year and it has been one of the best growing experiences I have had in college. My teammates are all such amazing speakers and inspire me to do better in addition to helping me get better. At the collegiate level there are way more tournaments than on the high school circuit and each one is an opportunity to qualify to the National Tournament. In short, the stakes are always high and the competition is fierce. I took freshman year to be a learning year, but next year, I'm prepared to bring the fire from day one.
"I took freshman year to be a learning year, but next year,
I'm prepared to bring the fire from day one."
So far, I have competed in two categories that are both similar to Original Oratory. In high school, Original Oratory is a research speech that students write themselves on topic of their choice. In college there are different variations of that. One is called an Informative Platform in which the speaker writes an original research speech to inform the audience about just about anything. The second is After-Dinner-Speaking (ADS) which is basically an Oratory filled with jokes. In April I will be attending the American Forensics Association National Tournament with my Informative Platform speech and the honor of attending is huge for me. The fact that I have this opportunity as a freshman fills me with gratitude. Beyond participating in college-level speech and debate, having the confidence to speak has exponentially lightened a lot of the stress that can come with college classes because of the skill sets I gained while competing, from researching to presentation.
It's also one of those activities that empowers you in life even after you've finished competing. If I choose to be an actor or director in theatre, I will be well-spoken and be able to do character research and analysis easily. If I choose to be a teacher, I will surely encourage my students to get more comfortable with speaking if I don't end up as a speech and debate team coach. Not only that, but I'll be able to communicate well with my students and accurately explain the various sides to issues. More broadly, as a citizen, I think that speech and debate can greatly impact people to be well rounded members of their community. They'll be able to see both sides to the arguments and communicate well in society. I would strongly advocate incorporating speech and debate programs into high schools for those reasons because I have seen those benefits play out in my life and my teammates.
Danielle is a Class of 2017 alumna who started at Trinity in 2010. Now she is finishing her freshman year at Concordia University Irvine. Danielle is double majoring in Theatre with an acting/directing emphasis and History while also getting her teaching credential. In the future she hopes to be a high school history teacher, find a job acting or directing, or a combo of it all.
Speech & Debate Fall Tournaments
By Jake Hampton
Our secondary school Speech & Debate Team has been hard at work! So far this year, our team has been to three tournaments. The first tournament of the season was a Speech-only event on October 7th, at Kahuku High School. Kaila Baker and Lauren Baker both received Overall Superior ratings for their excellent work, and Kaila Baker managed to place first overall in her category, Impromptu Speaking.
The next tournment was on October 15th, where the Trinity Debate team went to Waialua for the first Debate tournament of the season. Lauren Baker and Grace Klein won their first round, lost only to a former state champion and his partner, and received a BYE for the last round of the Tournament. Overall, they won half their ballots.
Finally, last weekend (first weekend of November), the Trinity Speech team went to University Lab school double-entry tournament and performed at the largest event yet of the season. Out of eight students, we received three Overall Superiors, one for Lauren Baker for her Original Oratory piece, and two Overall Superiors won by Kai Glorioso in both Original Oratory and Impromptu Speech.
Our Trinity team has continuously done an excellent job of representing not only our school by the ideas of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty as they faced fierce competition and remained courteous and resolute. Congratulations to all our speakers and debators for their hard work!