Rian Adamian debated on Walt Whitman's public forum team for four years. During that time, he reached finals at Blake (2014), semis at Blake (2015), and quarters at Laird Lewis (2016). He finished the 2015-2016 year ranked 21st in the country by VBriefly.com.
Rachel debated PF for Walt Whitman and has coached there since she graduated in 2013. She serves as Whitman’s head coach this year. In high-school, she competed in late outrounds at numerous tournaments, attending the Tournament of Champions twice and reaching Quarterfinals there her junior year. Since graduating, she has coached the champions of Yale 2013 and 2015, Bronx 2013 and 2015, Glenbrooks 2013, GMU 2015, Laird 2016, TOC 201 (closeout) and 2015, NSDA Nationals in 2015. She is a junior at Bowdoin College where she is studying English and American Literature and Government and Legal Studies.
Kyle Chong (UC Berkeley '19) is currently an Assistant Coach for The Harker School in San Jose, California. As a debater, Kyle was President of the Bronx Science Speech & Debate Team. He amassed seven bids to the Tournament of Champions while at Bronx Science, ending his career at tenth in the country. Kyle has made numerous outround appearances at tournaments like Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Emory, Blake, the Glenbrooks, Penn, and Lexington. His students have achieved success at both the local and national level, including back-to-back championships at Arizona State and Stanford, elimination round appearances at the Glenbrooks, Bronx, Berkeley, and Blake, as well as numerous bids to the TOC. Kyle is very excited to be working with the Victory Briefs Institute this summer!
Matthew Feng debated for four years at Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas, serving as the team captain his senior year. In Public Forum, Matthew is a top-six finisher at the NSDA National Tournament (2015), the third speaker and runner-up at the Harvard Round Robin (2015), a two-time champion of the Hockaday School Tournament (2013, 2014), the second speaker and runner-up at the Grapevine Classic (2014), and a two-time qualifier for the Tournament of Champions. Outside of Public Forum, Matthew is also a third-place finisher at the Bickel & Brewer International Public Policy Forum (2014), a runner-up in Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking at the TFA State Tournament (2015), and a semifinalist at the Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions (2015). Matthew is currently a freshman at Duke University, where he plans to study Political Science and Economics, and coaches Oakwood Secondary School. Matthew's teams have qualified to the Tournament of Champions, gotten top speaker at the Yale Tournament, and have debated into late outrounds at large national tournaments.
Karina Franke debates at Hackley in New York, where she is serving her second year as co-captain. She co-founded her school's team and has helped develop Hackley's middle school debate program. New to national circuit competition in 2014, she reached outrounds four times that year and advanced to bid rounds twice. In 2015-16, Karina and her partner Neil Suri competed in outrounds at ten tournaments, earned four TOC bids, and reached semifinals at both the TOC and CFL Nationals. She has also earned several speaker awards including 3rd at Scarsdale (2014) and 4th at Yale (2015) and semifinaled at NY States (2015). As a spring 2016 intern at the English Speaking Union in NYC, she works on projects aimed at integrating debate into the classroom and increasing female participation in debate. Karina is also a Scholastic Art & Writing triple gold medalist and American Voices winner in persuasive writing. She will enter Yale in the fall and looks forward to working with students at VBI!
Abraham Fraifeld competed in Public Forum at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, FL. Over the course of his career, he reached 6 final rounds and amassed 12 bids to the Tournament of Champions. Notably, Abraham was a two-time participant in Tournament of Champions elimination rounds, top speaker at the Glenbrooks, and the Florida State Tournament runner up. He has coached PF at Walt Whitman High School and Trinity Prep as well as multiple camps around the country. He is a rising Junior attending Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
Jeff Hannan is the director of speech and debate at Evanston Township High School. He coached the Illinois state champions in LD and PF in 2015, the NSDA National Champion in Congressional Debate in 2012, and the NSDA National Champion in Extemporaneous Debate in 2015. He has taught various forms of debate at camps in Massachusetts, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Illinois, and Florida. He is the author of Introduction to Public Forum and Congressional Debate as well as a public speaking textbook Authentic Communication: Public Speaking for Everyone.
Ben Kessler attended Stuyvesant High School, where he was the Public Forum Debate Captain. Over his debating career, Ben was among the top 5 speakers at the New York City Invitational, Columbia Invitational, Crestian Tradition Tournament, and the Scarsdale Invitational. In his senior year, Ben finished ranked 2nd in the country and earned 11 bids to the Tournament of Champions, where he semifinaled. Ben also championed the Blake Tournament, the George Mason Invitational, the Columbia Invitational, and the NCFL Grandnational Championship. Currently, Ben coaches teams from Hunter High School. So far this year, his teams have closed out the Princeton Invitational and cumulatively amassed 8 bids to the Tournament of Champions.
Naba Khan started on the parliamentary debate team at Singapore American School and then moved to Walt Whitman High School, where she competed on the PF team for three years, and as a co-captain for the 2015-2016 season. She quartered at the Columbia Invitational, won multiple speaker awards, qualified to the TOC, and debated to varying levels of elimination rounds at the Laird Lewis Invitational, Blake Tournament, GMU Tournament, Lexington Invitational, Minneapple Tournament and Yale Invitational.
Kaitlyn Allen-O'Gara attend Oxford Academy in California, where she debated in Congressional Debate for four years and Public Forum for two years. In her junior year, she was Senior Captain of Public Forum Debate. During those two years in Public Forum, her partner and her were invited to the CPS Round Robin in 2014, and earned a TOC bid. As for her record, she and her partner always had a winning or even record, going 10-0 (as well as earning 1st speaker) at La Costa Canyon, 7-2 at the Cal State Fullerton Invitational, 4-2 at the Santa Clara Invitational, and qualified to Nationals by taking 2nd at the Southern California District Tournament. Kaitlyn placed in the top ranking speakers at Stanford, La Costa, Fullerton, Cal Lutheran, and Jack Howe. In addition to Public Forum, Kaitlyn also competed in Congressional Debate, taking the title of National Champion in Senate in 2015 at the NSDA National Tournament.
Tim O'Shea competed in Public Forum for 4 years at Ridge High School in New Jersey, where he captained the Public Forum team. He reached the finals of the Lexington Winter Invitational, the National Catholic Forensics League Grand national tournament, and the Tournament of Champions, and co-championed Princeton, and received speaker awards at the Tournament of Champions, Harvard, and the New York City Invitational. Tim now coaches at Poly Prep Country Day School in New York, where his students have championed Harvard, Lexington, Blake, the New York City Round robin, the Laird Lewis PF Challenge, and the National Catholic Forensics League Grand national tournament. Tim attends George Mason University in Virginia where he majors in Government and International Politics with double minors in Economics and Data Analysis.
Arjun debated for four years at Trinity Prep (FL). As a senior, he served as captain of the Forensics team. During his four years at Trinity, Arjun qualified to TOC three times, reached finals at the Florida State Tournament as a sophomore, finals of Blue Key as a junior, semifinals at Minneapple as a junior, and won Minneapple as a senior. Arjun was ranked as high as 3rd in the nation by the NSDA his senior year. Arjun has been ranked among the top speakers at tournaments including Laird Lewis, NDCA, and Lexington.
Hal is a junior studying philosophy and public policy at Hamilton College, where he is the president of the Hamilton College Debate Society and a debater on the APDA circuit. In high school, Hal competed in PF for Lake Highland Prep in Orlando, during which time he accumulated 9 bids to the TOC, reached the final round of Berkeley and the semifinal round of NCFL Nationals. Hal has coached PF at Capitol Debate, privately, and as an assistant coach for Bronx Science; this will be his second summer at VBI.
Neil Suri attended Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York, where he participated in Public Forum debate for three years and served as co-captain during his senior year. During his years on the national circuit, Neil helped transform his school's club, which was created during his freshman year, into a nationally competitive team. In his senior year, Neil and his partner accumulated four bids to the Tournament of Champions, becoming the first Hackley team to ever qualify for the tournament. Neil broke at nine tournaments during his senior year, reaching octafinals at Laird Lewis, Bronx, Dowling, Princeton, and Yale. Neil reached semifinals at both the 2016 Tournament of Champions and the NCFL Grand National Tournament, in addition to qualifying for 2016 NSDA Nationals. He and his partner additionally posted a winning record at the PF Challenge at Laird Lewis, and have been ranked within the top 15 PF teams in the nation. Neil will enter the University of Chicago in the fall and is excited to work with students at VBI this summer!
Jami debated for Klein High School in Houston, TX, where she was the team president. She is a four-time TFA State qualifier, a three-time NSDA Nationals qualifier, and was the first TOC qualifier in her school’s history. Jami was ranked #1 in the nation by the NSDA’s Points Record in 2014, accumulated the most state points in Texas two years in a row, and was in the top 15 teams in the nation at the 2013 NSDA National Tournament in Public Forum debate. While her focus is PF, Jami was also the UIL 5A Undefeated State Champion in Lincoln Douglas debate. She currently works as a private coach, while attending New York University, and will be returning to VBI for her second year as an instructor.
Nehali Vishwanath debated for Klein High School in Houston, Texas for four years where she served as the team’s president. Nehali is a three time TFA State qualifier, three time NFL Nationals qualifier, and became Klein’s first ever TOC qualifier. She also ranked in the top 15 PF teams in the nation in 2013, amassed the most state points in Texas in 2014, and was ranked 14th in Texas' NSDA points record. Currently, Nehali works as a private coach while attending Johns Hopkins University.
Devon is entering his Junior Year at New York University as a Politics major with a double minor in History and Philosophy. At NYU he was a Global Debate Semifinalist and currently serves on the e-board of his school’s American Parliamentary Debate team. He has been coaching for two years, as a freelancer and as the current head PF coach for Byram Hills High School. As a coach, his teams have made it to outrounds at tournaments like NSDA Nationals, CFL Nationals, The Sunvitational and Princeton. In high school, Devon debated for four years at Suncoast (FL), serving as the PF captain in his last two years. During this time, he reached outrounds at a variety of state and national tournaments like UPenn’s Liberty Bell Classic, Florida Blue Key, The Sunvitational, FFL States and The Crestian Invitational. This will be his first year working at VBI.
Josh Zakharov attended the Bronx High School of Science, where he debated Public Forum for all four years and was the captain of Public Forum Debate his senior year. During his years on the circuit, Josh has qualified to the Tournament of Champions yearly since he was a sophomore. Among his accolades, Josh has reached 1st at the Valley Mid-America Cup, semifinals at NDCA Nationals and the Scarsdale Invitational, quarterfinals at the Princeton Classic and the Tim Averill Invitational, and reached elimination rounds at other national tournaments such as Blake, Harvard, and Yale. Josh has also placed in the top ten speakers at the Tim Averill Invitational, Princeton, the Crestian Classic, Sunvitational, Scarsdale, the Mid-America Cup, and more. In addition to leading the Public Forum at Bronx Science, one of the country's largest, Josh also takes an active role in coaching for the NYC Urban Debate League, where he has lead summer sessions and coaches for Democracy Prep Charter School and the Lehman High School for American Studies during the year.