Piper Doherty is a senior here at FTHS. Piper was awarded December Club Student of the Month in honor of her hard work, initiative, and dedication to choir. Thanks to Piper, the choir has yet another amazing leader and role model to both her fellow group mates and any new members! In addition to her performances and work done in choir, she is a member of the Select Ensemble and has a featured role in this year’s musical “Mean Girls.” If you want to see Piper perform in person, check out the showtimes for “Mean Girls!” Congratulations to one of our Club Students of the Month! Here’s a look at Piper’s exclusive interview:
Before we begin, congratulations on receiving Club Student of the Month!
– Thank you!
How would you describe your initial response to hearing your name on the announcements?
– I was very shocked but very excited at the same time because I wasn’t fully expecting it. Although, I was happy because everyone in my class was cheering, so that was really fun. I didn’t know what I actually got it for because I didn’t hear it because all I heard was my name.
Why do you believe that you were nominated and chosen for this award?
– I’ve been working on my solo since December and have been practicing with Mrs. Connors. Through that whole time, I was very prepared to perform my pieces. I just worked very hard on memorizing them and fully understanding the meaning of the piece before I present them to the judges. Overall, I’m just very happy that I got this award because I know I put a lot of effort into presenting the best version of myself in each of my performances.
What are some of your personal responsibilities as a member of this club? Do you have a specific leadership role?
– In Choir, I’m a student executive. This means that it is my responsibility to make sure the choir is under control so I can help Mrs. Connors. I also help get the class ready to perform and prepare pieces, edit videos, and mainly just be a good leader to my group.
Besides your commitment to Choir, what other activities are you involved in here at FTHS and beyond?
– I’m the captain of Color Guard for the Marching Band and am a three-star thespian in ITS. I also have a featured role in this year’s musical, Mean Girls. I play Janice, so it’s very exciting. I also partake in other clubs but these are my main activities.
It’s so great to hear about your involvement in our school grounds! Continuing on, what would you say is the overall motive that made you join choir?
– The motive behind my decision to join choir was because I want to learn and expand my musical experience, so when I get to college I have a good idea of what I want to do. I’m going for music education and I want to expand everything I can while kind of just growing as much as I can so I can be fully prepared for my future, with many opportunities for success.
Has being a part of Choir shaped you or given you new skills of any sort?
– I’ve learned a lot about music and just overall music theory, as well as learning how to sing with a group. I’ve been doing choir for as long as I can remember, and just being in the choir at FTHS has really made me grow and learn more about what I want to do in the future. Within my time in choir, I learned that I wanted to major in music and do vocal performance. Being a part of choir has given me the opportunity to meet new people and become so close to the same people throughout these four years.
What advice would you give to a new student entering the building next year?
– Don’t be scared of what other people think, just do what you want to do! I know it’s corny to say that but the time flies when you’re in high school –it really does – so just go out and do as much as you can while you still have the chance to.
To conclude, is there anything you would like to add or say to your fellow students and staff?
– Be nice, be a good person and have fun. That’s really it.
Thank you so much Piper for meeting with me and congratulations again!
– Thank you so much!
Here’s what Mrs. Conners, the Choir Director, had to say about Piper:
“Piper is a Student Executive of the choir, welcoming the challenges of her leadership role. A serious performer and unbelievable singer, Piper is a 4-year participant on the All-Shore Chorus and is one of two chosen soloists for this year’s performance. She is a great communicator and organizer and was a significant asset to the “recruitment” for incoming freshmen. She always works tirelessly to produce professional projects which showcase the best of her talents. She always puts others before herself. She has gained the respect of many as one of the most humble, hardworking and responsible students.”
Piper’s reasons for recognition were:
Congratulations to Finn Stenard, one of the December/January Club Students of the Month! Speech and Debate is already an intensive club in itself, but Finn goes above and beyond for the organization. As a junior Debate Captain, he helps train novice debaters in the FTHS Forensics Team in preparation for various tournaments and events. Finn is celebrated for his drive and initiative, leading to a very deserving win. He sat down with the Patriot Press to discuss this achievement.
Congratulations for winning Club Student of the Month for Speech and Debate! How does it feel to be nominated by your advisor and winning?
– Thank you! It really feels surreal to even be nominated, let alone win. I’ve put my heart and soul into this activity and to see it be recognized is really rewarding.
What is your role in Forensics at FTHS? What event do you do?
– I am the debate coach of Forensics at FTHS. I mainly teach my own category which is Lincoln-Douglas debate. There are two styles, but LD – as we call it – is more philosophy based and more strategic. My main role is to balance teaching my own novices and leading them to success while also allocating time to sharpen my own skills. But mostly, I just try to be a role model for the novices to look up to.
What drew you to the club and what led to your leadership position today?
– Well, what led me to the club was honestly that I started annoying my family too much with always arguing with them. Then one day, they jokingly asked if there was a debate team I could express my energy in. And before you know, I was at the interest meeting for forensics. I immediately fell in love. Something about the competitive edge to it mixed with the community of hardworking individuals drew me in. Debate is a lot like chess and I kept coming back to the satisfying feeling of watching your strategy play out. So throughout the whole year I constantly annoyed my debate coach at the time to learn absolutely everything I could before she went off to college. I worked hours on practicing, drills, case writing, etc. And before I knew it, my coach at the time, Miles, called me and asked me if I wanted to be coach next year. I was ecstatic and immediately started on lesson plans to try and foster the same drive and passion in my new novices as I had.
What separates Forensics from other clubs and organizations at Township?
– The main thing that separates us is the work effort. Most other clubs you can just go to during lunch or after school and forget about it when you get home. However, on the forensics team, if you want to do well, you must put in the work. Not only that, but our community is incredibly close, all of the other board members are my best friends, and I genuinely see my team as family. They always know that if they need anything whatsoever, no matter the time of day, they can come to me. We are all hard-working but know how to have fun with each other which I think is the best combination.
Describe one of your favorite memories from Speech and Debate.
– My absolute favorite memory so far must be our competition at Harvard last year. Harvard is a national speech and debate tournament during February and my friends and I were all competing online because of Covid. We all worked tirelessly for months, having extra practices and meetings. But finally, when the day came and there was nothing else we could do, we just let loose and had fun. Each day, we all met at one of our houses to compete together. In between rounds we had food and we laughed and goofed around. The shared stressful and surreal moment we were in really made us come together and have fun. I ended up placing 24th out of 200 people in my division and I couldn’t have made that happen without the help of the amazing people around me.
Who inspires you to work hard in Forensics? Any current members or alumni?
– For the most part, my friends inspire me to keep working. Jordyn Rubman, Isabella Novera, Tyler Douglas, and Ferdinando Maiello. My whole friend group is all in speech and debate and seeing how hard they work, makes me motivated to work and vice versa. We all support each other and it’s great. They are my rock and I would not be where I am without each and every one of them.
That is so sweet! Considering how much this club has given to you and that you are a captain, what is a word of advice that you’d give a novice who might consider joining Forensics?
– My advice is to just try it. I’m not going to lie it is a lot of work. But the payoff is worth every ounce and more. You will make best friends, you will learn lessons about success and failure, and most importantly you will be a part of a community that is just as hard working and dedicated as you. So try it! We don’t bite!
Here’s what Mrs. Gittens, the Speech and Debate advisor, had to say about Finn:
“Finn is an amazing advocate for his teammates. Students in our club take an active role in instructing their peers in proper speech and debate skills. As Debate Captain, Finn mentors the novices directly. He is extremely eloquent and
thorough in his instruction – he’s a natural teacher! He oversees practice debates and gives constructive feedback when needed. I can tell that his peers really appreciate his mentorship, as they are very comfortable and on-task in his presence. In planning our Home Tournament, Finn also took on the role of reaching out directly to a local business to order our necessary trophies and medals – roughly 100 in total! Overall, Finn excels in our organization, and we are so lucky to have him on our team! He lifts everyone up around him.”
Finn’s reasons for recognition were: