Volume 31



Debate dominates three leagues

Mike Bietz

For many years, the Harvard-Westlake Debate Team has competed in tournaments around the country. The team includes types of debate including Lincoln-Douglas, Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP), and World Schools. Hundreds of students have participated in the debate program, and HW consistently performs well. This semester, the debate team has already attended multiple tournaments.
World Schools Debate is a form of debate with teams made up of five students, but each round only three of the five speak. They normally debate on “prepared” topics where debaters have up until the tournament to prepare, as well as “impromptu” topics, which give debaters an hour before the debate with an almanac, thesaurus, or dictionary to research. It aims to allow debaters to focus on specific issues rather than debate theory or procedural arguments. It is a very interactive type of debate in which students are able to interact with each other even during the speeches.
The World Schools team at HW is led by Nilufer Mistry Sheasby ’24 who aims to “create an environment that welcomes constant questioning and argumentation, but also equally prioritizes support for teammates and friends, while winning some tournaments along the way.”
Lincoln Douglas Debate (LD) is a form of debate which originated when Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas had the first presidential debate. The HW team is nationally recognized and often sends students to the national USA team. This debate is fast-paced and it focuses on different philosophies such as Kant, deontology, utilitarianism, and consequentialism. This form of debate includes only one speaker alone who has time before tournaments to prepare. The team focuses on the same topic for the span of two or three months and attends tens of tournaments per year.
Recently, the LD team attended the Damus Invitational Tournament and the results were

William Liu ‘25 – Quarterfinalist & 4th place speaker

Elizabeth Johnston ‘24 – 16th place speaker

Iris Chen ‘23 – Octafinalist & 18th place speaker

Lilly Stobo ‘26 – Double-Octafinalist and 22nd place speaker

The team allows for many brilliant speakers and minds to come together in the pursuit of learning and excellence. The LD team also has a subcategory of novice speakers who are trying this form of debate for the first time. The novice team is often composed of eighth and seventh graders. This team also attended Damus and their results were amazing. Noah Koo ‘27 won 11th place speaker, and Julia Thomas ‘27 – 5th place speaker.
The Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP) is a form of debate in which students from 5th through 8th grade participate. It teaches students the foundations of creating arguments and philosophical values. It gives students a foundation for debate that will be useful not only throughout the debate world but also when writing essays, crafting arguments, and general public speaking skills. At HW, only seventh grade students participate in this form of debate. The teams are composed of three people who all speak during any given round. They receive all of their topics before the tournaments which allows for ample time to prep. They usually participate in four to five tournaments per year depending on the local schools who are hosting. Most recently, the MSPDP team attended the Polytechnic tournament where many teams performed well.

Vikram Wright ’28, Elijah Yguado ’28, Grace Yang ’28 (9th)

Feliciano Serrano ’28 & Dylan Cox ’28 (6th)

August Mulkerin ’28 & Pranav Boyapati ’28 (5th) went 3-1

Team Beckham Williams ’28, Kiran Amin ’28, and Diya Desai ’28 placed first with a record of 4-0.

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About the Contributor
Ellika LeSage
Ellika LeSage, Reporter
Ellika LeSage ’26 has been in journalism since elementary school where she ran her school newspaper. LeSage enjoys educating people on topics they may not have a lot of knowledge about, she especially enjoys writing features and opinions she enjoys the creative freedom. She is excited to continue her journalism path with Spectrum this year. 
“I really like features and opinions because you have a lot of creative freedom and you get to really write what you want, I believe in autonomy.”
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