Jake Nebel is Co-Executive Director of Victory Briefs and a PhD candidate in Philosophy at New York University, the #1 ranked philosophy department in the world. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University before attaining a BPhil from the University of Oxford, where where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. You can view his academic website here.
As a debater for Trinity Prep (FL), Jake debated in finals of Greenhill (twice), the Glenbrooks (twice), Harvard (three times), 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 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.
Chris is Co-Executive Director of Victory Briefs. Chris has been teaching at VBI since 2009. He currently coaches for his alma mater, Apple Valley (MN), and Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (CA). As a coach his students have reached elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions each of the past five seasons, including two semi-finalists, and have placed in the top 12 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, a finalist at Berkley, and a four year qualifier to the NSDA national tournament.
Samantha Weiss has a B.A. from Smith College, and a Masters in English from California State University at Dominguez Hills. She has been the Director of Debate at Ridgecrest Intermediate School in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA for 6 years and Director of Forensics at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates, CA for 4 years. Ms. Weiss has experience coaching parliamentary debate, public forum debate, and Lincoln Douglas debate. Back in college, she was camp mom at a summer camp in Wayne County Pennsylvania. More recently, she has spent the last 3 summers directing the Argument Clinic, a local debate camp. She lives in San Pedro with her husband and two children.
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, three Harvard champions, an Apple Valley champion, and winners of numerous other tournaments. In the 2014-2015 season, his students earned 13 bids to the TOC. Mr. Hertzig 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.
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.
Daniel studies economics and mathematics at Harvard College. He debated at PV Peninsula High School in Los Angeles for four years, clearing three times at the TOC and reaching semifinals his senior year. He won Harvard, Greenhill, USC, and the Greenhill Round Robin and was runner-up at MBA and the Glenbrooks. As an assistant coach at the Harvard-Westlake school, Daniel has helped qualify several debaters to the TOC, including one who reached elimination rounds last year. Daniel attended VBI three times as a student and is returning in 2015 as an instructor for his third summer.
Mollie Cowger is a student at Pomona College and has coached the Brentwood debate team since 2013. In high school, she debated for The Hockaday School in Dallas, TX, qualifying twice to the Tournament of Champions and graduating in 2012. She has been an instructor at VBI for three summers and has taught at both the Chicago and LA branches.
Rebecca Kuang is studying International Economics at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She won the 2013 Tournament of Champions, National Debate Coaches Tournament, Texas Forensics State Association Tournament, the Harvard University Round Robin, the New York City Invitational, the Emory University Barkley Forum for High School Students, and some other tournaments. She has taught at the UNT Mean Green Workshops and the Victory Briefs Institute and is currently an assistant coach at her alma mater, Greenhill School in Texas. Her students have reached elimination rounds at or won multiple national and regional tournaments including the Tournament of Champions, TFA State, Berkley, Emory, and the Glenbrooks but her greatest achievement has been teaching Rebecca Gelfer how to use technology.
Yale Graduate School - Political Theory ’09, Harvard Kennedy School Galbraith Scholar ’04, Stanford ’04, coached and/or started national squads at Mission San Jose (CA), The Harker Academy (CA), Niskayuna (NY) and Bodine (PA). Debated for Isidore Newman (LA), qualified to TOC in LD, NSDA in LD and Senate Legislative Debate and NCFL in LD, Congress and Extemp.
Akhil Jalan is in his fourth year of debate at PV Peninsula High School. He is co-Champion of the CPS Round Robin, Stanford, St. Marks, and other tournaments. He was top speaker at Berkeley, the CPS Round Robin, and St. Marks. He has qualified three times to the TOC, and was an outrounds participant in 2014.
Amy Geller is captain of the Harrison High School Debate Team, and has competed for Harrison for four years. In that time, she has qualified for TOC, NCFL, and NSDA Nationals, and has been in elimination rounds of Greenhill, Bronx, Apple Valley, Hendrick Hudson, Princeton, Lexington, Newark, Columbia, Harvard, and NSDA Nationals among many others. She was a two-time champion of the New York State NSDA District tournament, reached the final round of Ridge, competed at the Collegiate and Newark Round Robins, and won the New York Catholic Forensic League’s district tournament as a senior.
Andrew Bower debated for four years at Miramonte High School (CA). He was its first national circuit
Anne-Marie Hwang was LD President of her team at The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, and qualified to the TOC her junior year, receiving bids at Grapevine and Colleyville and reaching out rounds at Grapevine, Greenhill, Apple Valley, Valley, Glenbrooks, Lexington, and Colleyville. She participated in numerous round robins — Valley (twice), Collegiate, Greenhill, Apple Valley, and Harvard—and debated extensively on her local circuit as well.
Arjun Tambe debated at PV Peninsula High School for four years. He qualified to the Tournament of Champions three times, and his senior year, he won the Greenhill Round Robin and Damus, and closed out St. Mark's, CPS, Lexington, and Stanford with his teammate, Akhil Jalan.
Ben is currently a freshman at rPrinceton University. He debated for four years at Scarsdale High School, qualifying to the TOC his junior and senior years and reaching octafinals his senior year. As a junior, Ben co-championed the Hendrick Hudson Invitational. His senior year, Ben was the head of a Scarsdale LD team that led the nation in total bids, reached at least the bid round of every tournament he attended (including finals of the Yale and University School tournaments), and was a top 10 speaker at numerous tournaments including Valley, Harvard, and the TOC. Throughout his career, he attended the Vassar, Valley, and Penn Round Robins.
Carlos Taylor debated for Evanston Township High School In both LD and Policy. Despite only ever doing LD full time his senior year, Carlos still managed to clear at every regular season tournament he attended and bidding at all but 1 of them. Carlos was the Champion and Top speaker of the Mid America Cup and top speaker of Blake. Reaching out rounds of The Glenbrooks, Valley, Apple Valley, Blake, and Harvard as well as getting a career total of over 5 Round Robins invitations (all in his senior year).
Chloe debated for the Hockaday School in Texas for four years. Her junior year, She cleared at most national tournaments she attended and, after receiving a bid at the Harvard Tournament, at-larged to the Tournament of Champions. That year, she also reached quarterfinals of the Texas State tournament. This year, she was champion of Grapevine, Semifinalist of Valley, Octofinalist at St. Marks and currently has 4 bids to the Tournament of Champions. She has also participated in the Vassar, Hockaday, Greenhill and Valley round robins throughout her debate career.
Chris is an assistant coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, TX. He has coached the champions of Grapevine, University of Texas, Winston Churchill, the Victory Briefs tournament, Berkeley and the Bronx , Greenhill and University round robins. His students have competed in late out rounds at nearly every major tournament including the Glenbrooks, Big Bronx, Minneapple, Harvard, Greenhill, and the TOC. He has coached the top speaker at Harvard, Stanford, the Texas state tournament, the Greenhill round robin and the VBT. Since 2008 he has coached four finalists, three semifinalists, and one champion at the TFA state tournament.
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 plans on continuing his debate career on the College Policy team at Rutgers-Newark.
Dan debated for 4 years at Lexington High School in Lexington, MA and was a co-captain of the Lexington team for 2 years. His senior year, he was an octofinalist at Bronx, the Glenbrooks, and Blake, quarterfinalist at the Barkley Forum, and semifinalist at Harvard. He also finished 12th in the year-long Dukes & Bailey Cup standings his senior year and was a co-champion of the Massachusetts state tournament as a junior. Next fall, he will attend Northwestern University where he will study Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences.
David debated for four years at John Marshall High School. He qualified to the TOC as a junior and again as a senior. Throughout his career, David earned eight bids – St. Mark’s, Greenhill, Meadows, Voices (where he was 2nd speaker), Harvard-Westlake, Stanford, and Berkeley (twice). David was also a participant in the Battle for Los Angeles Round Robin, Voices Round Robin, and the Debate LA Round Robin.
Elana has competed for Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson, Arizona, for four years. She was the Lincoln Douglas Debate Captain of her team since her freshman year. She earned the Outstanding Distinction award in Speech and Debate during her senior year. Elana won State and went undefeated her senior year and won 1st place, undefeated in AZ districts and qualified for nationals. She is the first woman competitor from her school to qualify for NSDA Nationals, and the first to qualify in Lincoln Douglas Debate. She has coached many students to success that have reached numerous out rounds, won tournaments, and placed at State in their first year of competition. Having attended VBI herself last summer, Elana is excited to return as a lab leader and mentor!
Eric “Bump” Weine debated for Evanston High School (IL) for four years. He was an octafinalist at Glenbrooks, and a quarterfinalist at Blake and Valley. He also received numerous speaker awards, getting 5th speaker at Harvard, 12th speaker at Glenbrooks, 10th speaker at St. Mark’s, and 2nd speaker at Blake. He also reached late outrounds of his state tournament multiple times. Next year, he will be attending the University of Chicago.
Gina Scorpiniti debated for four years at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. She qualified to the TOC her junior and senior years clearing to the runoff round of the TOC in her senior year. Throughout her career, she attended the Collegiate, Valley (twice), Bronx, and Apple Valley round robins. Next fall, she will attend Wellesley College where she plans on studying psychology.
Isis 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. 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 and was invited to the Newark Round Robin. She has been in elimination rounds at many national circuit tournaments including Yale, Valley, Hendrick Hudson, Ridge, Blake, Lexington, and Emory.
Jackson debated for Brentwood and qualified to the Toc three times. This year he was a finalist at Glenbrooks, won the Golden Desert Tournament, was champion of the VBI LA camp tournament, and was top 8 in other bid tournamets (Meadows, Berkeley, VBT/Harvard Westlake, and Loyola). In the past he won the Second Year National tournament at Woodward, and attained 17 career bids.
Jacob was a 4 year Lincoln Douglas debater at Starr's Mill high school in Georgia. As a senior, he won the Georgia state tournament, cleared at NFL nationals, and qualified to the TOC. He is currently a third year policy debater at Georgia State University, where he cleared at ADA Nationals and qualified to the NDT. In his first two years coaching LD, he coached TOC quarterfinals and octofinals appearances. This year, his debaters have appeared in semifinals of Greenhill, Bronx, and Apple Valley; finals of the Valley round robin, Bronx round robin, and Apple Valley round robin; and championships at Wake Forest and the Harvard round robin, amassing 9 TOC bids.
James has debated for Palos Verdes Peninsula and qualified to the TOC his junior and senior years. He was the finalist of the David Damus Trojan Championships and semifinalist and 2nd speaker at the Damus Hollywood Invitational. He reached outrounds at the NDCA National Championships twice. He has also qualified to the NSDA Nationals in policy debate.
Joey debated for three years at Evanston Township High School in Congressional and Lincoln-Douglas debate. He qualified to the Tournament of Champions his junior year in congress, and qualified in LD his senior year with bids at Valley and Blake. He was also in the bid round of St. Marks and Dowling Catholic. He has also had success in traditional LD; last year he won the IHSA state tournament, was a quarter finalist at the NCFL National Tournament, and cleared at the NSDA National Tournament with an 11-1 record in prelims.
Lawrence debated for Bartlesville HS in Oklahoma graduating in 2014. In high school, he was a three-time state finalist and two-time state champion, placed 6th at the NFL National Tournament his junior year, and was the NSDA National Champion his senior year. He also qualified to the National Tournament all four years of high school in LD, public forum, and congress. He now attends the University of Oklahoma where he is a member of the OU Ethics Bowl Team and debates on the OU policy team. This will be Lawrence's third year at VBI, his second as an instructor.
Leah has debated for seven years at Saint Louis Park High School in Minnesota, qualifying to the TOC three times. As a junior, she earned four bids, was a finalist at the Iowa Caucus Tournament, won the Hockaday Women’s Round Robin, and was the top seed (and only undefeated debater) at TOC, beating the eventual champion in prelims. So far as a senior, she has earned six bids, won the Valley and Iowa Caucus Tournaments, and was a semi-finalist at Apple Valley and Bronx.
Melanie debated for 4 years at The Meadows School in Las Vegas, NV. She qualified to the TOC her senior year, earning bids at Voices and Alta. She has been in the elimination rounds of Loyola, Voices, Alta, Blake, Harvard Westlake, Stanford, and Nevada State. She also competed in the Voices and California Round Robins.
Michael debated for four years for Scarsdale High School. He qualified twice to the TOC, so far receiving 6 career bids. His senior year, he has reached at least the bid round at every tournament he has attended. He championed the Minneapple and reached late elims at Yale, Blake, Crestian, Glenbrooks, and Princeton, among other tournaments. Outside of debate, Michael is an expert-rated chess player.
Michael will graduate from Harvard-Westlake School in June 2014. He has debated for six years and competed in Lincoln-Douglas for four years at Harvard-Westlake school, qualifying to the TOC his sophomore, junior, and anticipated for his senior year. While debating for Harvard-Westlake, Michael has achieved a career total of six bids, clearing at multiple major national tournaments including Harvard, Stanford, Blake, the NDCA Championships, Berkeley, USC, and appearing in finals of St. Mark's and Meadows as a junior
Nathan debated for three years at Randolph High School (NJ) from which he graduated in 2014. As a senior, he was a finalist of the Penn Round Robin and finished his career in Octafinals of the TOC. He now attends New York University and coaches for the Bronx High School of Science.
Nick is in his fourth year of coaching at Hopkins in Minnesota where he is currently the director of debate. A number of his students have qualified to the TOC, NSDA Nationals, and Minnesota State Tournament. They have also received invitations to compete in several round robins including Harvard and Voices/Presentation. His students consistently clear at numerous bid tournaments each year including: Harvard, Harvard-Westlake, Minneapple, Valley, Blake, Stanford, Dowling, Caucus, and Westside. This will be Nick’s fourth year working at VBI and he also attended VBI twice as a student.
Rahul debated for 4 years at Scarsdale High School in Scarsdale, New York. He qualified to the TOC twice, with 6 career bids. His junior year, he was a finalist at the NCFL Grand National tournament and won the Crestian Tradition. Senior Year, he’s been a finalist at the New York City Invitational, Mid-America Cup and the Harvard Round Robin.
Rebecca Gelfer has been debating for four years locally, regionally, and nationally for Clements High School. She has won multiple local tournaments, qualifying to the Texas Forensic Association State tournament (TFA) three years in a row, reaching Double-octafinals her sophomore year, semifinals her junior year, and finishing second place her senior year. She has also qualified to NSDA Nationals and placed among the top 40 in Lincoln Douglas debate her junior year. Despite competing on the national circuit for the first time her junior year, she received an At-Large to the TOC after being in finals of Churchill and cleared to the runoff round at TOC. So far this year, she bid at Greenhill, Apple Valley, and finished in quarters of the Glenbrooks. She has attended multiple round robins such as Greenhill (twice), Appley Valley (which she won), Harvard (placing second in her pod), and Kandi King. She was also top speaker at UH and fifth speaker at the Glenbrooks.
Rory debated at La Costa Canyon for his junior and senior year. He has coached debaters from Lynbrook (CA) and Arbor View (NV) High Schools. His students have reached elimination rounds at Greenhill, Berkeley, Harvard-Westlake, Presentation, Meadows, and Golden Desert. Rory is currently an honors student in the UC Berkeley Rhetoric Department, and has a fantastic knowledge of continental and analytic philosophy as well as critical literature.
Samantha debated extensively on the national circuit for Stuyvesant High School for four years. She qualified to the TOC her senior year, earning bids from finals of Ridge and quarterfinals of Lexington. In addition, over the course of her career, she reached bid rounds at Columbia and Bronx. Her junior and senior years she reached elimination rounds at 18 of the 21 bid tournaments she attended, including elims at Yale, Bronx, Blake, Sunvite, Lexington, and Harvard. Samantha also received various speaker awards, including 2nd speaker at Blake her senior year, 2nd speaker at Scarsdale and Newark, 4th speaker at Bump, and placed in the top 10 speakers at Yale, Princeton, Ridge, Columbia, and Beltway. She also received invites to numerous round robins, including ones at Lexington, Newark, Beltway, Penn, Hockaday, and Harrison. Samantha attends the University of Chicago and is double majoring in philosophy and political science.
Tinuola debated five years for Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Washington. She was the first LD debater to attend TOC from her school. Her junior year, she was in the bid rounds at Federal Way and Harvard and reached elimination rounds at Yale, Whitman, Blake and Stanford. She also placed 16th at the NSDA National Tournament and 3rd at the WIAA State tournament. Her senior year she earned 4 bids to the TOC, notably reaching quarterfinals of St. Mark's, finals of UPS and winning Federal Way. She also received speaker awards at Whitman, Blake and Harvard. Tinuola also competed at the Apple Valley and Harvard Round Robins. She will be attending Stanford University in the fall. (picture attached)
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.
Varun Bhave did three years of circuit LD as an independent from Del Mar, qualifying to the TOC twice and accumulating 14 career bids. As a senior, he was season bid leader, championing the Voices, Bronx, Meadows,