Debate team attends Damus Hollywood Invitational Tournament


Printed with permission of Mike Bietz.

(From left to right) Debate members Kai Do ’24, William Liu ’25 and Alden Detmer ’25 prepare for their upcoming rounds.

Averie Perrin

Debaters gathered at the Upper School to prepare and log on to the virtual Damus Hollywood Invitational tournament Nov. 6-8. 

Notre Dame High School hosted the tournament, which was held virtually on Tabroom—a forum of the National Speech and Debate Association (NDSA). Novice and varsity debaters of the Lincoln-Douglas (LD) style competed individually in the LD division, and students in the world schools category competed in teams.

Of the three teams competing in the world schools division, two advanced to finals. In the championship round, Oren Hartstein ’24, Nilufer Mistry-Sheasby ’24 and Alex Lee ’24 narrowly lost to Mission San Jose High School in a 1-2 vote.

Hartstein said he was happy with the team’s performance.

“I think we did a very good job,” Hartstein said. “It would have been nice to have won the whole thing, but I think we definitely improved throughout.”

Five students competed in the varsity LD category. Maxwell Lee ’24 advanced to the octofinals and ranked no. 10 speaker overall, and Chronicle Staff Writer Nathalie Leung ’24 ranked no. 9.

Elizabeth Johnstone ’24, a new varsity LD debater, said she was proud of her teammates and appreciative of the experience she gained. She said she plans to use the tournament to improve her own debate skills.

“This year was my first year in varsity debate, which is definitely a big shift from novice last year, so I am definitely still adjusting to all these new tournaments to get more practice in,” Johnstone said. “It was definitely a good learning experience.”

Jasmine Stidham, the primary debate coach, said she was extremely impressed with the team’s overall performance.

“This tournament is always tough because it’s the first tournament on a brand new topic,” Stidham said. “Our level of preparation for this tournament reflects how much teamwork goes into the process. I’m very proud of our achievemements at the Damus Tournament.”