Appleton East Debate, Forensics, Theater

Hello East Alumni and friends:

Recently I have learned from Mike and Deb Traas that Appleton East's Debate, Forensics and Theater program is in urgent need of money to cover the cost of travel to tournaments and of producing shows.

As someone who spent four years in every aspect of the East program as a student (before it was even a four-year school!), and then another two as an assistant coach, I can personally testify to the magnificent value added to my life by the experience of debate, forensics and drama. I know that there are many of you who feel the same. 

And I can vouch for Mike and Deb: for more than 20 years, they've helped to make East's one of the top programs in Wisconsin. This past summer they were awarded the prestigious Bruno E. Jacob award by the National Forensic League and helped coach a state championship policy debate team. 

But in recent years support for the arts from the school district has declined. I've heard from Mike and Deb that they now have 2/3 of the budget they had back in 1992 (!), and that they are now making up the difference from their own pockets--to the tune of thousands of dollars a year. While they make some of this back from theater ticket sales, debate and forensics sells no tickets, and the team is having to forego trips to many of the tournaments we always cherished. 

Are you an East alum? Did your time on the team mean a great deal to you? If you'd like to see other young people have the same opportunities as you did, please consider a donation. The goal I've listed is ambitious, but Mike tells me the team will need at least $12,000 just this year to maintain the usual debate and forensics travel schedule this year. Mike thinks he may also be able to secure some corporate sponsorship, but I bet it will be easier for him if we the alumni show how valuable the program has been and step up and put our money where our mouth is. 

P.S.: I'm coordinating this campaign with Mike Traas. Funds collected will be directed straight to him and the program. 


Ben Bayer

New Orleans, Lousiana

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  • David/Mary Ann Bayer 
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Ben Bayer 
New Orleans, LA
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