From 6-8 PM on 20 April 2018, RAHS Speech and Debate held their annual Mystery Dinner with tickets priced at $15 to raise funds for the team. The dinner was an interactive show with the theme of Family Feud between two families; the Grundelpliths and the Robinsons. Filip Grundelplith, the father of the family, was murdered during the show and the audience had to discover who was the perpetrator with the evidence presented to them.
“Every year, we do a different theme for the show and characters,” said Hong Ta, junior and executive Speech and Debate member who played the role of Kim Grundelplith during the dinner. “This year it [was] Family Feud, so characters included the two families, and our own host! After the dinner, we [had] a dessert auction where we auctioned off donated desserts from local bakeries. This year, we also auctioned off themed baskets.”
Sophomore audience member Everett Crockett enjoyed the show.
“It was very entertaining and well done all together,” said Crockett.
Crockett’s favorite part was the interrogation after the dessert auction where the murderer(s) are revealed.
“All of the actors kept to their character and it was really fun to watch,” said Crockett.
As an executive member and treasurer, Ta worked with other executive members throughout different committees to begin planning the dinner in January. Committees work to call bakeries, write the script for the show, and obtain costumes.
“My responsibility for making sure everything runs smoothly is working with other members of the exec team- [seniors] Debora Ferede, Monica Lopez, Janelle Vu, and [junior] Steph Glascock- to organize all of the possible details that come with the dinner,” said Ta. “As treasurer, I make sure tickets are sold, funds are turned in, and [oversee] the overall budget of the dinner.”
Although the team communicates well, harmonizing the various aspects of the dinner can be difficult.
“A challenge that comes with planning the dinner is coordinating all of the many different aspects together,” said Ta. “We have to advertise the dinner, have every team member sell their assigned tickets, collect desserts donations, create decorations, etc. – the logistics all have to come together.”
Sophomore Speech and Debate member Amrit Singh played the role of Rajiv Grundelplith during the dinner, the conspicuous adopted child of Filip Grundelplith. But behind the scenes, Singh assisted in writing the script.
“My role in planning the dinner was primarily as a part of the script team,” said Singh. “I helped to write the script for the event and create the character evidence [that everyone] saw.”
Though the amount of people who came to the dinner was surprising for Singh, he feels it was perceived positively.
“I feel the event went well,” said Singh. “I think people enjoyed it, from the feedback I have received so far. Everything may not have gone as smooth as it could have, but with any large event such as this, there’s always going to be small mistakes and what not.”
Even with these minute complications, the dinner raised over $4,000 for Speech and Debate.
“But that doesn’t detract from the fact that the dinner was indeed successful because of all the hard work of our team members and the generous donations and contributions from the lovely attendees,” said Singh.
Biology teacher and Speech and Debate advisor Nathan Gwinn also played a significant role in organizing the dinner.
“[Students] take care of the writing aspect of the actual script and that kind of stuff,” said Gwinn. “I’m mostly just doing what I typically do, which is making sure things get done in a timely fashion and making sure it’s organized well.”
Being this is his first year as the Speech and Debate advisor, Gwinn experienced some surprises during his first few weeks on the team.
“I had no clue what I had signed up for, and that was positive and negative,” said Gwinn. “I didn’t know the time commitment I was signing up for. That was something that I had to wrap my mind around.”
However, seeing his students working so hard for the team has made the experience worth it.
“Just seeing how hard [students’ have to work and seeing the things they have to go through has been moderately inspiring,” said Gwinn. “The kids have just been awesome; they’ve made it every part of it worthwhile.”
If everyone hadn’t come together to work on the event, Singh believes dinner would not have been served
“My biggest takeaway from this dinner is the importance of organization, leadership, and teamwork,” said Singh. “Without these three traits present in our executives or team members, this dinner would never have been possible.”