Varad Agarwala debated for the Greenhill School (TX) and will be attending Emory in the fall. As a junior he reached quarterfinals of the TOC, placed 3rd at NSDA nationals and won the Emory tournament. This will be his first year teaching at VBI.
Elyssa Alfieri debated for four years at Harrison High School (NY). During her career, Elyssa has reached elimination rounds at nearly every national invitational she attended, including Greenhill, Bronx, and Apple Valley. Elyssa attended VBI as a student and this will be her first year as an instructor.
Graham has debated for four years for Greenhill School, competing both locally and nationally. He qualified to the Texas Forensic Association State tournament (TFA) his sophomore, junior, and senior years. On the national circuit, Graham qualified to the TOC twice, reaching semi-finals as a junior and earning an auto-qualification for his senior year. He won the Blake tournament, co-championed the Greenhill Round Robin and the St. Marks Invitational, reached quarters of Apple Valley, The Glenbrooks, and Meadows, and earned second in his Pod at the Minneapple Round Robin.
Anthony Berryhill (Stanford BA '04, Harvard Kennedy School Galbraith Scholar '04, Yale Graduate School Political Theory '09) debated for Isidore Newman (LA), qualifying to the TOC in LD; NSDA Nationals in both LD and Senate Legislative Debate; and NCFL Nationals in LD, Congress, and Extemp. Having coached for over a decade, he has worked with or started national squads at Mission San Jose (CA), The Harker Academy (CA), Niskayuna (NY) and Bodine (PA). He has coached multiple national championship competitors—at least four of his students have placed in the top 10 nationally.
Rick has been a speech and debate coach for 14 years. The programs he has worked have included Highland Park (MN), the Harker School (CA), Apple Valley (MN), and Taipei American School (Taiwan). Rick has previously worked at summer programs at the National Debate Forum, the National Symposium for Debate, the Stanford National Forensics Institute, and Yale Ivy Scholars. Rick strongly believes in the diversity of VBI's teaching philosophy, and he proud to join the VBI faculty for a second year. His coaching accomplishments include several student finishes in the top 10 at NSDAs, coaching the first international student to qualify for elimination in LD at NSDA Nationals , ten qualifiers to the TOC, and students receiving speaker awards and outround appearances at Greenhill, Valley, St. Marks, the Glenbrooks, and nearly every other national circuit tournament. As a competitor, Rick was the top speaker at Valley, a finalist at Yale, a recipient of six bids to the TOC, a two-time elimination qualifier at the Minnesota State High School League State tournament, a State Champion in Original Oratory, and 4th place finish at the NSDA National Tournament.
Jerry Chen is a junior at the University of Chicago and coaches at The Harker School, where he coached the 2015 TOC champion. Jerry debated for three years at Lexington High School, graduating in 2013. He qualified twice to the TOC, with bids at Ridge, Glenbrooks, and Harvard (twice). As a senior, he won the Vassar Round Robin, and earned second speaker at the Glenbrooks and the NDCA National Championships. . He has attended VBI once as a student and twice as an instructor.
Isis Davis- Marks (Yale '19) debated for four years at Bronx Science in Lincoln Douglas. She qualified to the TOC during her senior year of high school, receiving bids at the Hendrick Hudson Invitational (Bump) and Blake. In her junior year, she reached octofinals at the NDCA national tournament. In her senior year, she She was the co- champion at Bump and top speaker at the Scarsdale Invitational her senior year. Additionally, Isis competed at the Collegiate and Sunvitational Round Robins. She currently coaches for Wes Des Moines Valley high school, where her students have reached late elimination rounds of Harvard, Apple Valley and Blake.
Danny DeBois (Harvard '18) debated for Harrison High School in New York for 4 years. He won the TOC, NCFL Grand Nationals, the Minneapple, the Glenbrooks, the Harvard Round Robin, and the Harvard Invitational (twice). He was in finals of Greenhill (twice), the Greenhill Round Robin, Bronx, the Bronx Round Robin, and Lexington (twice.) He is now an assistant coach at Harvard-Westlake in California. He attended VBI twice as a student and this will be his third year as an instructor.
Fred Ditzian debated 3 years at Fort Lauderdale High School. After graduating he coached his alma matter for 2 years and coached Trinity Prep for 3 years and is currently an assistant coach at Lake Highland Preparatory School. Many of his students have either bid or qualified to the TOCs and have seen great success on the national circuit in his many years of coaching. Fred will also be completing his graduate degree in Policy Analysis and Evaluation at Claremont Graduate University.
Bennett has been debating for four years locally, regionally, and nationally for Greenhill School (sophomore through senior years) and Flower Mound High School (freshman year). He qualified to the Texas Forensic Association State Tournament (TFA State) all four years, winning as both a sophomore and a junior. He also qualified to NSDA Nationals thrice and placed among the top 14 his junior year. On the national circuit, he qualified to the TOC three times—reaching the octafinals his junior year—and has won several tournaments including the Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, St. Mark’s, Meadows, the Greenhill Round Robin, and the Apple Valley Round Robin. Bennett went to VBI Los Angeles as a student in 2015 and will be attending Northwestern University in the fall.
Sean Fahey debated for Benjamin Franklin High School (LA) for four years and was team captain his junior and senior years. He debated independently on the TOC circuit his junior and senior years. He has qualified to CFL nationals all four years and qualified to the TOC as a junior. He won St. James, Co-Championed Vestavia Hills, reached finals at Isidore Newman, and won the Holy Cross Round Robin. He attended VBI for one year and this will be his first year as an instructor.
Adegoke Fakorede debated for Newark Science (NJ) and is currently a Clement Price Scholar at Rutgers University-Newark. He was the first debater in history, along with his teammate SunHee Simon, to qualify to the TOC in both LD and Policy debate. As a senior he closed out Berkeley and reached octofinals of the TOC. This will be Adegoke's first time teaching at VBI.
Kyle debated LD for four years at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory on the TOC and TFA circuits. He qualified to TFA State his sophomore, junior, and senior years. On the TOC circuit, Kyle received a bid at Valley and debated in two bid rounds at Apple Valley and St. Mark's his senior year, and one bid round his junior year at UPenn. Kyle attended VBI as a student during the summer before senior year.
Chetan Hertzig is the head coach of Harrison High School in New York. He has coached a TOC champion, an NCFL national champion and runner-up, an NSDA Nationals runner-up, two Glenbrooks champions and one runner-up, three Harvard champions, two Bronx runner-ups, an Apple Valley champion, and winners of numerous other tournaments. In the first four months of the 2015-2016 season, his students earned 12 bids to the TOC. Mr. Hertzig teaches IB Psychology and 11th grade U.S. History at Harrison, and holds an M.A. from Teachers College at Columbia University, a J.D. from Boston College Law School, and a B.A. from Brandeis University. He has been teaching at debate workshops for over 15 years. This will be his second year as a Curriculum Director and lab leader at VBI.
Jonathan Horowitz is currently the Associate Director of Debate and Head LD coach at Bronx Science. He debated for four years at Glenbrook North HS in Northbrook, IL. After graduating high school he went to Goucher College where he continued his involvement in debate by coaching at Loyola Blakefield HS for the entirety of his college experience leading Loyola to unprecedented success in both LD and policy debate including the first TOC appearances in both events as well as TOC outround apperance in LD. Subsequently, Jonathan returned to Chicago and worked for Chicagoland Jewish HS and New Trier HS. At Chicagoland, Jonathan helped the team become competitive by hosting more tournaments and providing more opportunities for the team to compete. While at New Trier he helped the team to new found success after their Lincoln-Douglas program was restarted. This is his second year teaching at VBI.
Shania debated for four years at Northland Christian School in Texas. She currently attends UCLA and coaches Harvard Westlake. She is a two-time qualifier to the TOC, three-time qualifier to NSDA Nationals, and four-time qualifier to TFA state. Some of her debate accomplishments include competing at over a dozen round robins, placing 2nd at the 2014 Cal Berkeley Tournament and champion of the 2013 Greenhill Classic and Cal Berkeley Round Robin. Outside of LD, she was on the National Team USA debate team and competed on behalf of the US at multiple international tournaments. As a student she attended VBI for 1 year.
Kim Hsun has debated for Winston Churchill High School for four years. On the national circuit, she has cleared at tournaments such as Grapevine, UT, and the Glenbrooks. She has also attended the Hockaday Women’s Round Robin. Additionally, she has qualified for NSDA Nationals, UIL State and TFA state in both LD and DX. Kim is an advocate for women in debate, helping to establish a mentorship program with other female debaters, working towards a safer space at tournaments, and running a spreadsheet compiling advocates at different tournaments. She attended VBI as a student, and this is her first year as an instructor.
Prince debated for the Apple Valley High School in MN for 4 years. He attended the TOC twice, finishing with a winnning record senior year and received invites to Valley, Sunvite, Minneapple, Kandi King, and Debate LA RR. Prince competed at Valley his senior year and at the Minneapple RR his junior and senior year. Also, he competed in congressional debate.
Rory attended La Costa Canyon High School in Southern California and debated on the circuit most actively his junior and senior years. He has coached the College Preparatory School, Lynbrook High School, and individual students to NFL’s, the TOC, the California state tournament, and success at many local and circuit tournaments. He is currently a senior in the Rhetoric department at UC Berkeley, researching public discourse and applying to law schools.
Tom Kadie competed for two and a half years at Miramonte High School. He qualified to the TOC his junior and senior years and received six career bids. He reached deep outrounds of the Voices, College Prep, and Meadows Invitationals. He also competed in the Cal and Voices Round Robins.
Kathryn Kenny debated for Harrison High School for four years, where her accomplishments included qualifying for TOC twice, winning the Newark Invitational, and reaching quarterfinals of Yale and Harvard and elimination rounds of Valley, Apple Valley, Lexington (top seed/top speaker), Princeton, and Bronx. She competed at the Newark, Harrison, Byram, Valley, Bronx, Harvard, Penn, Hockaday, and Derby round robins, winning the latter and placing second in her pod at the first three. She looks forward to teaching critical and framework debate this summer.
Rebecca Kuang studies International Economics and East Asian studies at Georgetown University. She coaches for her alma mater, the Greenhill School in Texas, and her students have reached deep elims at/ won multiple bid tournaments. She won the 2013 Tournament of Champions, the Glenbrooks, Emory, Bronx, the Harvard Round Robin, TFA State, and some other tournaments. She has taught debate at camps across the country, including UNT, Apex, and VBI, and is currently working with the National High School Debate League of China to promote debate globally. She has spent four summers at VBI (two summers as a student, two summers as an instructor) and is looking forward to returning for a fifth!
Amit was a four-year member at Science Park High School, competing both locally and nationally. He also was a member for the 2015-2016 National USA Debate team. Amit won the Harrison, Newark, Byram Hills, Bronx, and California round robins. During his senior year, he was a semifinalist at Emory and NDCA, a finalist at the Berkeley Invitational, and won top speaker at Greenhill, Emory, and NDCA. While having a primary focus in LD, he also received a policy bid to the TOC, and won the New Jersey State Championship in policy. He will be attending Rutgers Business School in the fall majoring in finance.
Jackson debated LD at Brentwood High School from 2011-2015, earning 17 career bids and qualifying to TOC sophomore - senior year. As a senior, he made it to the quarterfinals of TOC, won Golden Desert, was runner up at The Glenbrooks, and 6th place at NSDA nationals. He also won the VBI camp tournament and coached a freshman to TOC this year. Jackson studies Economics and Computer Science at Stanford University.
Shannon debated for Stuyvesant High School in New York for four years, captaining the team her senior year. She cleared at many national tournaments her senior and junior years, including Yale, Scarsdale, Princeton, and Lexington, reaching the bid rounds of the Sunvitational and Barkley Forum, and earning the bid at Harvard. She was champion of the Columbia Invitational, where she received her second bid and qualified to the TOC. Additionally, Shannon was top speaker and champion of the Hockaday Round Robin.
Anna Lu was Team Captain of Speech and Debate at Palo Alto High School, and attended Victory Briefs for 3 years. She won the Harker Invitational and University of Pacific, as well as other local tournaments, and made eliminations at every tournament her junior and senior years. She will be attending Columbia University in the fall.
Michael Mangus is a post-doctoral researcher in the Media Neuroscience Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Mangus competed on the national Lincoln-Douglas circuit for Saint James School (AL) from 2002-2006. In his senior season, he won the Glenbrooks and Apple Valley, took second at Greenhill, and closed out the AFEA Alabama State Championship. He qualified for the Tournament of Champions three times, earning bids at 10 consecutive tournaments spanning his junior and senior years. At the TOC, he reached the quarterfinals twice and was the top seed in 2006. At the University of Pittsburgh from 2006-2010, he was active in both public and competitive debate, qualifying for the NDT and reaching elimination rounds at CEDA.
Daiya debated for Bronx Science for four years. He is currently coaching Scarsdale High School where he coached two students to octafinals of the TOC.
Cameron McConway has debated for three years for Cy-Fair high school in Houston, TX and is currently the team president. She attended VBI the summer before her senior year. She qualified to TFA state in LD all three years, and NSDA nationals her junior year, where she finished in the top 42. Cameron competed at the Hockaday Round Robin, the Apple Valley Round Robin, and the Strake Jesuit/TDC Round Robin. So far this year, she has appeared in outrounds at Grapevine, the University of Texas, Strake Jesuit, and Isidore Newman, where she reached semis and earned a bid to the TOC. Cameron is an advocate for women in debate and along with a group of female debaters helped establish a forum and mentorship program for young women in debate.
Jenn Melin debated at Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage High Schools in Texas. Currently, she is a coach at Grapevine High School, and has previously coached at Hockaday, Marcus, and Colleyville. As a competitor she was active on the national circuit, qualifying to both NSDA Nationals and the Tournament of Champions. This will be her second year as a curriculum director at VBI.
Devane debates for Rutgers-Newark and has been debating for about 9 years. This year Devane qualified to the NDT with a first round bid. They have experience running and teaching a variety of debate styles, from stock issues to performance debate. Devane has coached on the high school level for the past 4 years in the city of Newark and is am currently coaching for three different high schools in both policy and LD. In policy, Devane has coached the winner of the Scranton Round Robin two out of the last four years.
Nicole Danielle Nave
Nicole is currently a junior at Rutgers University–Newark. She has qualified for a first round bid to the NDT this year. As well as having earned several different top 10 speaker awards and elimination round appearances, she is a currently an Assistant Coach at University High School in Newark, NJ. She previously debated for Kansas City Kansas Community College, where she cleared at multiple national tournaments, including the Cross Examination Debate Association National Championship and the National Debate Tournament.
Jake Nebel is Executive Director of Victory Briefs and a PhD candidate in Philosophy at New York University. He holds an AB in Philosophy from Princeton and a BPhil in Philosophy from Oxford, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. As a debater for Trinity Prep (FL), Jake reached finals of Harvard (three times), Greenhill (twice), the Glenbrooks (twice), the New York City Invitational (twice), the Barkley Forum at Emory, Yale, the Bronx Round Robin, the MBA Round Robin, the VBT Round Robin, the Vassar Round Robin, the FFL State Championship, and NSDA Nationals—winning most of those. He was named Top Speaker at the Tournament of Champions, Greenhill, Harvard, the New York City Invitational (twice), the Bronx Round Robin (twice), Yale (twice), the Vassar Round Robin, the Crestian Classic, and the FFL State Championship. As a coach for the Greenhill School (TX), Jake's students have won the Tournament of Champions, the NDCA National Championship, the Dukes & Bailey Cup, the Glenbrooks, the Harvard Round Robin, the New York City Invitational, Emory (twice), the TFA State Tournament, and other national, regional, and local championships. This will be his eleventh summer at VBI.
Sienna debated for four years at Barrington High School (IL), where she was a co-captain her junior and senior year. She has earned two career bids, both at Iowa Caucus her junior and senior year. Sienna also is successful on the local circuit; she was an octofinalist at IL State her freshman year, quarterfinalist at IL State her junior year, and placed in the top 60 at the NSDA National Debate Tournament her junior year. Sienna was named a 2015 Global Community Champion for Women's Economic Empowerment by United Nations Women; one of only 60 in the world and eight in the United States. Additionally, Sienna is the Chief Operating Officer of the 2BU Platform, an international company that strives to help teens awaken their power and be true to who they are.
Megan is a rising senior at Loyola University of Chicago, where she studies Special Education and Education Policy. Megan is an assistant debate coach at New Trier High School in Illinois. While debating for Valley High School from 2009-2013, Megan qualified to the TOC twice, earning a total of 9 bids. This will be Megan's second summer working at VBI.
Paloma O'Connor debated for Cambridge Rindge and Latin (MA). She has reached late elimination rounds at numerous national tournaments, including Bronx, Blake, Yale, and Valley. She attended VBI multiple times as a student and this will be her first year as an instructor.
Karen debated for four years at Harker in San Jose, CA, where she was team captain for two years. She qualified to the Tournament of Champions in her junior and senior years, also reaching elimination rounds of multiple circuit tournaments, such as quarterfinals of Golden Desert and Voices. Karen also was invited to the Greenhill, Voices, DebateLA, and Cal Round Robins, and she was nominated to speak at the Voices Educational Forum. Additionally, outside of tournaments, she is currently working on the Debate Sisters Program that pairs varsity debaters with novices to foster closer relationships in the community, facilitate the transition to circuit debate, and encourage older females to continue judging or coaching debate. Karen attended VBI three times as a student, the summers before her freshman, junior, and senior year.
Madi debated for four years for Princeton High School in New Jersey. As a senior, she has served on her local school board, as Vice President of her debate team, as Executive Director of Debate for the Mid-Atlantic Junior State of America, and reached outrounds at several bid tournaments including Yale, Princeton, and Ridge. When not debating, Madi also works with Centurion Ministries to free wrongfully convicted individuals. She attended VBI twice as a student.
Christian debated in LD and Policy for Newark Science (NJ) for four years. In LD, he qualified to the TOC his junior and senior year (was top speaker his senior year), won the Ridge tournament, was the co-champion of Scarsdale and Berkeley, and made it to late elimination rounds at Glenbrooks, Lexington, Emory, Harvard, NDCA, and TOC. In Policy, he broke at Scranton and Lakeland his junior and senior year. Christian debates College Policy at Rutgers-Newark. This will be his second year teaching at VBI.
Sarah Ryan debated for Harrison High School, earning 8 TOC bids over the course of her career. She reached the final rounds of Bronx, Glenbrooks, and the Hockaday Round Robin, was a two-time semifinalist and top speaker at Princeton, and got to quarters of Harvard and NDCA Nationals. She also reached elims at Apple Valley, Emory, Lexington, Bump, and NCFL Nationals, among other tournaments, and qualified for both NCFL and the TOC her junior and senior years. Sarah attended VBI as a student; this will be her first year as an instructor there.
Joey debated for three years at Evanston Township High School in Illinois. He competed on both the local Illinois circuit and the national circuit. As a student, Joey won the Illinois State tournament (twice), the NCFL National Tournament, and the NSDA National Tournament (in Extemporaneous Debate). Joey also qualified to the Tournament of Champions his senior year with bids at Valley and Blake. Joey is currently a rising sophomore at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. and is a coach at Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria VA.
SunHee (Stanford '19) has participated in debate since the 7th grade and has been active in both Lincoln-Douglas and Policy Debate--qualifying in both events. She won numerous awards at national tournaments which include championing the Greenhill Invitational and co-championing the Cal Round Robin as well as the Cal Invitational at Berkeley. She has also been chosen as one of the members of the USA National Debate Team. She loves the city of Newark and continues to give back to her community as an active participant in the Newark Debate Academy. She currently participates in college policy debate at Stanford. This will be her second year teaching at VBI.
Elijah Smith is currently a graduate student and debate coach at Wake Forest University pursuing a degree in Communication. He is a past winner of the NDT and CEDA nationals (the two largest championships in college debate), a two-time First Round At-Large qualifier to the NDT, was named the CEDA Baby-Jo Debater of the Year, and received Top Speaker at multiple regular season tournaments. He has coached elimination round participants at the TOC in both LD and Policy.
This will be Nick's fifth year working at the Victory Briefs Institute. Nick was the director of debate at Hopkins High School for 4 years and now coaches at St. Thomas Academy/Visitation in Minnesota. As a coach, his students have qualified to the TOC, NSDA Nationals, NCFLs, and the Minnesota State Tournament. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a degree in Political Science and Philosophy.
John debated locally and nationally at the Bronx High School of Science for four years. He won the Westchester Classic and was in eight bid rounds, twice at Capitol, Valley and Yale, and once at Bump and the Glenbrooks, also getting speaker awards at those tournaments. He received his first bid at Yale. John will be attending Columbia University in the fall of 2016.
Felix Tan debated four years at Clements High School (TX). During his career, he reached elimination rounds at nearly every national invitational he attended, including Greenhill, Glenbrooks, Strake, and Meadows. Felix attended VBI as a student and was the champion of the 2015 VBI Los Angeles camp tournament. This will be his first year teaching at VBI.
Christian has been coaching debate since 2005. His students have won Greenhill, Valley, Apple Valley, Blake, Harvard-Westlake, Stanford, and the TOC, and reached the final round at NSDA Nationals. He is currently an assistant coach for West Des Moines Valley HS in Iowa and a PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of Maryland.
Chris Theis is Executive Director of Victory Briefs. This is his tenth year at VBI. He currently coaches for his alma mater, Apple Valley (MN). He has previously coached students from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (CA), Trinity Preparatory School (FL), Winston Churchill (TX). As a coach his students have reached elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions each of the past six seasons, and have placed in the top 6 of the NSDA National Tournament. His students have won nearly every major invitational tournament (some multiple times) including: Harvard, Greenhill, Stanford, The Minneapple, Emory, CPS, Lexington, Loyola, Damus, The Greenhill Round Robin, and others.
As a competitor he was one of only two juniors to ever win the Tournament of Champions and is the only person to win it twice. He was the champion of Blake, Emory, the Iowa Round Robin twice, the Greenhill Round Robin twice, and St. Marks twice. Chris was also a semi finalist at Greenhill and the Glenbrooks, and a finalist at Berkley. Chris was a four year qualifier to the NSDA National Tournament in Lincoln-Douglas, U.S. Extemp Speaking, and Congressional Debate.
Marshall Thompson competed for four years in highschool for Walt Whitman, and served as one of two LD cocaptains his senior year. He experienced considerable success both locally and nationally, winning several major national tournaments as well as clearing to late elimination rounds at others. Marshall graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in philosophy. He actively studies philosophy and theology with an eye towards teaching full time at a collegiate level. Marshall attended VBI many times as a student and this is his third year as an instructor.
Nick Tourville debated for eight years, including four years of LD at St. Louis Park High School and four years of college policy at the University of Minnesota. He was the bid leader his senior year (with 9), and his students have won many major tournaments, including the Tournament of Champions. Nick is now a Ph.D. student in philosophy at Rutgers University. This will be his fourth year at VBI: one year as a student, and three as an instructor.
Christopher Vincent is the Director of Debate at Louisiana State University, the LD Coach for Holy Cross (LA), and former Director at the Brown School in KY. Chris has been involved in debate for the past 11 years. As a former college debater, he has reached elimination rounds at several tournaments including both CEDA and the National Debate Tournament. As a high school coach, he has coached students to elimination rounds at many national tournaments including Greenhill, Emory, Harvard, Newark, Bronx, the Tournament of Champions and many others, as well as qualified one of the first students from KY to the TOC in LD. Chris holds a M.A. in Communication studies from the University of Louisville, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at LSU, where he is interested in queer and critical race studies.
Kathy has debated locally and nationally at Stuyvesant High School in New York, and has worked as a team officer and directed Junior Varsity members through the transition to the progressive circuit for the last two years. In her four years debating, she has cleared at several bid tournaments including Bronx, Columbia, and Harvard. She has also helped with various women in debate efforts, such as a spreadsheet that listed support contact info. She has attended VBI twice as a student in many different locations.
Linnea Warburton debated for four years at Lexington High School on both local and national circuits. She reached the elimination rounds of the NDCA as well as bid rounds at the West Des Moines Valley and Apple Valley tournaments. On the local circuit she won two tournaments and reached the final round of the Massachusetts State Tournament. Linnea attended VBI her junior year. "
Henry Wu debated for Upper Arlington High School in Ohio for three years, with two on the national circuit. He achieved elimination rounds at multiple tournaments including NCFL Nationals, Valley, Princeton, Blake, Yale, Capitol Beltway, and more. He also attended VBI as a student the summer of junior and senior year.
Alex Yoakum debated for 5 years starting in the 8th grade, and spending most of his high school debate career debating for Grapevine High School in Texas. He qualified to the TFA state tournament his sophomore, junior, and senior years, and finished his senior year by reaching octafinals at the state tournament. Alex was invited to the Greenhill Round Robin his junior and senior years, as well as the Bronx Round Robin his senior year. Alex qualified to the TOC his senior year by receiving bids at the Minneapple and Greenhill tournaments. He is planning to double major in philosophy and comparative literature at Emory University. This will be his first year teaching at VBI.
Lawrence Zhou competed at Bartlesville HS in Oklahoma (2010-2014) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. In high school, he was the 2014 NSDA LD National Champion. He was also a three-time finalist and two-time champion of the Oklahoma State Tournament and placed 6th at NFL Nationals his junior year. He now attends the University of Oklahoma where he is a member of the OU Ethics Bowl Team and debates on the OU Shannon Self Debate Program policy team. This will be his fourth year at VBI, his third as an instructor.
Paul Zhou debated for four years at Lexington High School and served as LD co-captain his junior and senior years. He qualified to the TOC twice and co-championed the prestigious Woodward First-Year National Championship. As the LD coach for Stuyvesant High School in New York, he has coached students to outrounds at Bronx, Emory, Harvard, Yale, Lexington, Sunvitational, Princeton, Scarsdale, Ridge, and Columbia. He is currently a junior at Wesleyan University, where he studies Science and Technology Studies.