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Congratulations to our alumni!


At the 2018 National Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions, every single team that broke to octofinals included at least one POI Debate Institute alum. 

That's 27 debaters out of 32 in elimination rounds, and we couldn't be more thrilled. 

Congratulations to all!

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Congratulations to our alumni!


At the 2018 National Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions, every single team that broke to octofinals included at least one POI Debate Institute alum. 

That's 27 debaters out of 32 in elimination rounds, and we couldn't be more thrilled. 

Congratulations to all!

Master Class 2018

Master Class 2018: NPDTOC champion, finalists, top seed, semifinalists, and octofinalists. 

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Coming soon...


Information on the 2019 POI Debate Institute dates, locations, and details.

Stay tuned!

Coming soon...


Information on the 2019 POI Debate Institute dates, locations, and details.

Stay tuned!

Our Future Starts Here

 Debaters and coaches of the 2016 Master Class Program at UC Berkeley.

The POI Debate Institute, now entering its sixth year, is pleased to announce that we will be staging the nation's premier high school in-residence parliamentary debate institute at UC Berkeley. The POI Debate Institute is open to debaters of all skill levels.

The POI Debate Institute will continue to offer a best-in-class experience instruction led by nationally renowned college and high school coaches and an amazingly low instructor:debater ratio of 1:5. We will continue to uphold our mission to serve the needs of high school students aspiring to be the best parliamentary debaters in the nation. The POI Debate Institute is competitive, demanding, and rigorous and will push you to achieve your potential. It is unlike any other parliamentary debate program offered in the nation.

We know that that time and money invested in a summer debate program is predicated on the expectation debaters will develop the requisite skills and knowledge to make them more competitive and to that we offer a track record of unparalleled success when it comes to training high school parliamentary debaters.

Debaters trained at the POI Debate Institute dominate national high school parliamentary debate and have won almost every major high school invitational including Stanford, Yale, MLK, University of the Pacific, the Connecticut State Championship, the California State Tournament, Willamette, Fullerton, Oregon, Claremont, NPDI, the 6x4, Prospect, Santa Clara, Berkeley, La Costa, and the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions.

While we are proud of our success, we know that parliamentary debate is far more than a collection of trophies. At the POI Debate Institute we truly believe parliamentary debate is an investment in the future. Parliamentary debaters are special because of their unique ability to engage, analyze, and process the seemingly indecipherable white background noise that permeates our world. One round might be about the situation in the Central African Republic with the next round pivoting to the possibility of war in the South China Sea only to be followed by a round weighing the benefits and detriments of European austerity policies. The best parliamentary debaters have a heightened awareness of the multiplicity of problems that afflict our planet and they are constantly conceiving and testing ways to solve these problems. The young people who participate in parliamentary debate are inspirations. They provide hope. They are the seeds of a better future.

So please join us this summer. We look forward to seeing you in California and Oregon!

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Who We Are


Our amazing core of directors and coaches is the reason the POI Debate Institute is what it is: the nation's best high school parliamentary debate program. 

Who We Are


Our amazing core of directors and coaches is the reason the POI Debate Institute is what it is: the nation's best high school parliamentary debate program. 

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Sierra Maciorowski, Summer Program Director

Sierra competed in high school for Sonoma Academy, where she saw her team rise to #3 in the nation during her year as captain, and finished the year ranked 10th as an individual in parliamentary debate. During her gap year, Sierra was ranked #1 as a community college team in NPDA debate while competing for Santa Rosa Junior College. She now coaches parliamentary debate for the Mountain View - Los Altos school district, in addition to private students. In only two years with MVLA, debaters she works with have won the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions, California State Championship, Stanford Invitational, Martin Luther King, Jr. Invitational, Dempsey-Cronin Invitational, Vikings Invitational, Notre Dame Parli Warm-Up, and Berkeley High School Invitational, reached finals at the Stephen Stewart Invitational, and semifinals at the National Parliamentary Debate Invitational, the Yale Invitational, and the Santa Clara Spring Philalethic Invitational. MVLA ended the 2016-2017 season ranked #2 nationally, and is currently ranked #2 this year as well, with 4 of the top 10 debaters in the country. Sierra attends Stanford University, where she intends to double-major in English and Human Biology, and competes in APDA and BP for the Stanford Debate Society. She also broke at the 2018 NPDA Championship, in a surprise appearance after 2+ years away from the activity. 


The MASTER CLASS


David Saulet, Director and Coach of the Master Class Program

 David “Bear” Saulet began debating at the community college level for El Camino College. After two years of successful competition on both the state and national levels, Bear transferred to Concordia University Irvine on a debate scholarship. During his time at Concordia, Bear and his partner would become the top parliamentary debate partnership in California as well as the second best partnership nationwide in 2013. After graduating from Concordia, Bear served as the Assistant Director of Debate at Concordia Irvine, where his team won 1st place sweepstakes at the national NPDA tournament, and as the Assistant Director of Forensics at Oxford Academy. Bear recently completed his Master’s degree in Communication Studies at California State University Long Beach and moved up to the Bay Area to serve as Club Parli’s program director. Bear is also working on projects to help increase socioeconomic diversity in parliamentary debate throughout the Bay Area as well as a piece of educational software optimized for argumentation and debate.

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Zach Moss, Assistant Coach of the Master Class Program

Zach debated for two years at Concordia University Irvine during which time Zach and their partner Bear Saulet (Master Class Program Director) won multiple tournaments, posted a league-high 50 prelim wins, and were the second-ranked team on the NPTE leaderboard their senior year. Since then, Zach has acquired a Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism from the University of Wyoming. While coaching at the University of Wyoming, the university’s policy debate team continued their decade-long qualification to the NDT and posted a double-octofinalist finish at the NDT as well as a quarterfinalist finish at CEDA Nationals. Zach also coached British Parliamentary debate and Lincoln Douglas debate while attending the doctoral program at SIU Carbondale and starting Summer 2018, Zach will be joining Club Parli's all-star coaching staff in a full time capacity.


The High School Program


Judith Teruya, High SChool Instructor

Judith is a senior at Concordia University Irvine studying sociology and history. She competed in policy debate for four years in high school, and has competed in NPDA debate for three years at Concordia, ranking third in the nation during the 2016-2017 debate season. Judith and her partner Manoah ended their season in quarterfinals at the NPDA national championship, where Judith also earned the 5th place speaker award out of nearly 300 debaters. Judith contributed to Concordia's 2015 national sweepstakes award, and was a semifinalist at the 2016 NPDA national championship. Apart from her collegiate career, Judith has coached high school policy debate for three years, and her students have seen great success, winning the National Invitational Tournaments of Champions policy debate division.

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Meera Keskar, High School Instructor

Meera competed in parliamentary debate for Prospect High School for four years, serving as a captain of the team in her senior year. She finished her senior year ranked 19th as an individual, after working with 7 different partners. In her senior year, she broke at the Dempsey-Cronin Invitational, Jon Schamber Invitational, Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational, Tournament of Champions and National Parliamentary Debate Invitational and reached semifinals at The Grizzly Invitational. She was the first female debater from Prospect to qualify to the Tournament of Champions. Meera currently attends the University of Southern California where she majors in Economics and minors in International Relations and Mathematical Finance. She competes on the Trojan Debate Society’s British Parliamentary team, coaches debate at New Roads School in Santa Monica, and served as an instructor for the 2017 POI Debate Institute and 2018 Parli Winter Workshop.


CALEB KORNFEIN, High SChool Instructor

Caleb spent his debate career at Sonoma Academy, where he competed in parliamentary debate for four years, and policy debate for two. During that time he found extensive success, reaching the finals of the 2014 National Parliamentary Debate Invitational before winning it his senior year. He was a semifinalist at the 2017 Tournament of Champions, and a quarterfinalist at the 2016 Tournament of Champions, along with numerous other placings. Caleb finished the 2016-2017 season ranked 7th individually after attending only three tournaments over the season’s duration. Beyond his own debate career, he was a Middle School Program instructor at POI last year and has taught at Sonoma Academy’s policy debate camp for the past two summers. Caleb is coming back from a gap year in Germany and will head off to Duke University, where he will continue to debate and major in public policy.

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Jessica Jung, High School Instructor

Jessica Jung (she/her/hers) is currently a senior at UC Berkeley studying Economics and Public Policy. She competed in Lincoln Douglas and Public Forum in high school for Redlands High School, qualifying to nationals in PF, then moved to NPDA parli for three years at UC Berkeley. After a brief hiatus from debate, she qualified to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence in 2015-2016 after breaking at Mile High, Paul Winters, and the Golden Gate Opener, and reaching finals at the SCU Copeland Invitational. Jessica is currently the Assistant Coach at Campolindo High School, and taught parliamentary debate at the Stanford National Forensics Institute. When not working on debate, Jessica enjoys spending time with her dog River, skateboarding, and reading queer theory. 


Amanda Ozaki-Laughon, High School Instructor

Amanda graduated from Concordia University Irvine in 2015. She debated on Concordia's debate team for four years, during which time they won the 2013 and 2015 NPDA Sweepstakes National Championship awards. She and her partner Richard Ewell were undefeated with an 8-0 record at the NPDA national tournament, where she also received the All-American Award for scholastic achievement, as well as 5th place speaker at both the NPTE and NPDA national tournaments. During her time as Co-Director of Debate with her former partner Richard, Concordia University placed second in both 2016 and 2017, making Concordia one of only a few universities to remain ranked in the top three teams nationally for five years in a row. Amanda's coaching cultivates a tight-knit, competitive environment where students are pushed to elevate their communication skills, preparing them for lives of service and advocacy.
 

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Trevor Greenan

Trevor Greenan, High School Instructor

Trevor Greenan is a current student at UC Berkeley, where he has directed the student-run NPDA debate team, Parliamentary Debate at Berkeley, since 2015. Trevor competed in NPDA debate for three years on the team and qualified to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence twice, while also serving as Head Coach and Director of the program. The program has since won sweepstakes awards at several major tournaments, including the Mile High Swing, with Parli at Berkeley appearing in finals of the 2017 NPTE and placing three teams in the top 20 of this year's NPTE rankings. Parli at Berkeley ended the season with a team ranked #1, in addition to winning the 2018 NPTE. In high school, he competed for three years on Santa Rosa High School's parliamentary debate team. Trevor is currently coaching for Campolindo High School for his second year, and has previously provided assistant coaching for Berkeley High and Santa Rosa. He has also served as the Tournament Director for the National Parliamentary Debate Invitational for the past three years. 


William Zeng, High School Instructor

William has debated at Los Altos High School for four years, and has broken at nearly every major tournament in Northern California. He ended his senior season in finals of the Tournament of Champions, after previously winning the Dempsey-Cronin Invitational at Santa Clara University, and reaching finals at the Stephen Stewart Invitational, semifinals at the MLK Invitational, and quarterfinals at the Jon Schamber Invitational and the Claremont Wolfpack Invitational. William is currently ranked #2 in the nation, despite attending tournaments with 6 different partners over the course of the season. He has served as a captain for the Mountain View - Los Altos parliamentary debate team this year, working extensively with novices and varsity members alike to keep the team ranked #2 in the nation as a club as well. He also coached at the Foster City Winter Camp. 

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CLaudia Hester, High SChool Instructor

Claudia Hester has competed in open parliamentary debate for roughly four years, serving two years as a captain of the Bishop O’Dowd Debate Team. Claudia has qualified for the Tournament of Champions in three out of the four years of her high school debate career. During her junior year, she won the University of the Pacific's Jon Schamber Invitational, also winning first speaker, took second place at the Vassar Invitational, and finished the year ranked #7 nationally. This year, Claudia won the Peninsula Invitational, reached the finals of the Notre Dame Invitational and Totally Free Tournament, and semifinals at the Jon Schamber Invitational and National Parliamentary Debate Invitational. She is currently ranked #4 nationally, after spending the majority of the first semester at #1. 


Ming Qian, Adjunct Instructor

Ming Qian attends the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he currently competes in NPDA/NPTE debate. As a college freshman, he broke at every open tournament he attended, reaching semifinals at the Jannese Davidson Memorial Tournament (where he also earned top speaker), quarterfinals at WSCA, and octofinals at the Golden Gate Invitational. His season concluded with breaks at both the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championship Tournament and the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence. Ming also had an enormously successful career in high school parliamentary debate, which he ended ranked #5 nationally. He reached finals at the 6x4 Blue Invitational and the Omega Round Robin, semifinals at the Stephen Stewart, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jon Schamber invitationals, and quarterfinals at the Tournament of Champions, where he also earned 3rd speaker. 

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The Middle School Program


Neeraj Sharma, Middle School Instructor

Neeraj Sharma competes for the Nueva School, and founded the school's parliamentary debate team in his sophomore year. He ended the 2016-2017 season ranked 13th nationally, and ends the 2017-2018 season ranked 8th as an individual despite only attending 3 tournaments. This year, Neeraj closed out the National Parliamentary Debate Invitational with his teammates at Nueva, broke at the Stanford Invitational, and reached semifinals at the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions. The previous season, he reached quarterfinals at the MLK Invitational and the 6x4 Blue, octofinals at the 2017 Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions, the Jon Schamber Invitational, the Stanford Invitational, and the National Parliamentary Debate Invitational. As captain of his high school team, Neeraj has frequently coached middle and high school students of all levels, and is excited to bring that expertise to POI.

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Krish Visht, Middle School Instructor

Krish debates for Campolindo High School, and recently won the 2018 Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions as the finishing touch in a long history of debate success. He finishes the year ranked #1 nationally, after winning the Martin Luther King, Jr. Invitational, the Stephen Stewart Invitational, and the Cal Lutheran Invitational, as well as reaching semifinals at the Santa Clara Spring Philalethic Invitational, the Dempsey Cronin Invitational, and the Claremont Wolfpack Invitational, and quarterfinals at a variety of other tournaments. Last year, he ended the season ranked #3 nationally, winning the Cal Parli Invitational and the 6x4 Red, and reaching finals at the Santa Clara Spring Philalethic Invitational, after winning it as a sophomore in 2016. Outside of debate, Krish runs track and field and will attend Carnegie Mellon University in the fall, where he plans to major in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. 


Our Past Instructors Include. . . 


Basil Abushama, High School Program Instructor

Basil was the president of the debate team at Evergreen Valley High School for two years and led his team to extraordinary renown and growth. Along with his partner, Basil was the first debater in parliamentary debate history to win the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions two years in a row. His list of championships and top speaker awards includes the National Parliamentary Debate Invitational, the Yale Invitational, the Santa Clara University Invitational, the Claremont Invitational, the Bruschke Invitational, and the Georgiana Hayes Invitational. Basil won an award at every high school tournament he competed in since his junior year and hung up his boots as one of the top-ranked high school debaters in the event's history. Basil now attends the University of California, Berkeley.

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Jack Greenberg, High School Program Instructor

Jack had an accomplished career in parliamentary debate at Sonoma Academy, and was captain of his debate team during the 2015-2016 season. His list of achievements includes winning the Jon Schamber Invitational and CSU Fullerton Invitational, reaching semifinals at the California State Championship and the Stanford Invitational, and quarterfinals at the National Parliamentary Debate Invitational. Outside his own high-school career, he created a free public speaking and debate summer camp for middle-school students, which he has run since 2014. Jack finished his senior season ranked 7th nationally, and now attends Stanford University, where he plans to major in Management Science & Engineering. 

Thomas Liao, High School Program Instructor

After competing in debate in middle school, Thomas co-founded the Campolindo High School debate team in 2012. Over the course of 4 years, it became one of the top clubs in the nation, ranking #3 at the end of the 2015-2016 season. He finished his senior season ranked 6th individually, reaching semifinals at the Tournament of Champions and the National Parliamentary Debate Invitational, and quarterfinals at the Stanford, 8x4, and Notre Dame Invitationals. Thomas now competes for UC Berkeley in NPDA debate, where he is ranked #1 nationally after winning the Georgia B. Bowman Invitational, Mile High Invitational, and Mizzou Invitational. He was a finalist at the 2017 National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence and semifinalist at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championship. In addition to his own debate career, Thomas has coached middle- and high-school debaters extensively. 

Spencer DembnerHigh School Program Instructor

Spencer has debated his way to the top of the parliamentary debate national rankings for three consecutive years: where most debaters can hope to rise in the rankings as they age, Spencer is unique, as the only person in parliamentary debate history to be ranked #1 nationally for every year of his varsity career— generally by a large margin. After reaching finals at four tournaments his sophomore year, including the Tournament of Champions, he went on his junior year to repeat his finals performance or better at five tournaments, including the 2016 Tournament of Champions, and qualify to the national championship in Lincoln-Douglas debate. This year, in addition to serving as president of the Mountain View - Los Altos speech and debate team, Spencer won twelve tournaments, including the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions, the California State Championship, the Santa Clara University Spring Invitational, the Yale Invitational, the Dempsey-Cronin Invitational, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Invitational, the 6x4 Blue Invitational, the La Costa Classic, the Stephen Stewart Invitational, and the Totally Free Tournament. Spencer is an incoming freshman at the University of Chicago, where he intends to study philosophy and classics. 

Lilly Hackworth, High School Program Instructor

One of the most decorated speakers and debaters on the parliamentary debate circuit, Lilly has competed in parliamentary debate and extemporaneous and impromptu speaking since her freshman year at Notre Dame San Jose High School, and was her team's parliamentary debate captain. After finishing her sophomore season ranked #11 as an individual, Lilly went on to impressive success in individual events and debate her junior year, reaching finals at Claremont's Wolfpack Invitational, taking 12th place at NSDA Nationals in World Schools Debate, 2nd place in impromptu at the Jon Schamber Invitational, and 6th place at the CHSSA State Tournament in domestic extemporaneous speaking. Her senior season included a total of eleven tournament championships, including the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions (where she also earned the top speaker award), the Santa Clara University Spring Invitational, the La Costa Classic, the Stephen Stewart Invitational, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Invitational, the 6x4 Blue Invitational, the Yale Invitational, the Dempsey-Cronin Invitational, and the Totally Free Tournament. Lilly will attend the University of Chicago next year, where she intends to study computer science and political science. 


Manoah Marton, High School Instructor

Manoah Marton is a History & Political Thought honors student at Concordia University Irvine. He has over seven years of experience with public speaking and debate, both in high school and college. Manoah won the 2013 National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC) in parliamentary debate, and the 2014 NITOC in team policy speaking. As a freshman at Concordia, Manoah and his partner combined with four other Concordia teams to win the National Parliamentary Debate Association National Tournament as Top Debate School. During his sophomore and junior years, he finished in semifinals and quarterfinals at the tournament, respectively. Manoah has experience coaching students with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience, including new students and national champions. 


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Henry Tolchard, Middle SChool INstructor

As a competitor for Santa Rosa Junior College, Henry has earned achievements in both parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas debate. He finished as the top ranked community college team at the Pat Kennedy Round Robin Invitational, won the Talk Hawk invitational, earned a gold medal at the California community college state championship, and finished the season ranked #3 nationally among community college NPDA teams. In the 2016-17 season, Henry earned awards for being the top parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas community college debater in northern California, gold-medalling in both parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas debate at the Phi Rho Pi national community college championship. Outside of his career, he also coaches Windsor High School's parliamentary debate team. Henry now attends UC Berkeley, where he plans to major in philosophy while continuing his NPDA debate career.

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The World's Greatest Public University


The POI Debate Institute is proud to call UC Berkeley, the flagship of the University of California system, home and we believe one of the greatest benefits we offer is the week debaters get to spend on the campus of one of the world's greatest universities.

Founded in 1868, Berkeley is the oldest institution in the UC system. Berkeley's faculty and alumni have won 72 Nobel Prizes, 45 MacArthur Fellowships, 15 Turing Awards, 20 Academy Awards, 11 Pulitzer Prizes, and discovered 6 chemical elements.

The 2013-2014 Times Higher Education Assessment of the world's greatest universities ranked Berkeley #8. Among the world's universities, Berkeley has the 2nd highest number of academic programs ranked in the top-ten.

Berkeley, probably more than any other university in the nation, gained a reputation for student activism during the 1960s with student opposition to the Vietnam War and the Free Speech Movement calling for the lifting of the ban on on-campus political activity and the acknowledgement of the rights of all students to free speech and academic freedom.

Berkeley's proud history for speaking truth to power, its continued commitment to being a college with a conscience, and its embrace of academic excellence make it the ideal backdrop for a week of intense examination of values, ideals, and discourse.

The World's Greatest Public University


The POI Debate Institute is proud to call UC Berkeley, the flagship of the University of California system, home and we believe one of the greatest benefits we offer is the week debaters get to spend on the campus of one of the world's greatest universities.

Founded in 1868, Berkeley is the oldest institution in the UC system. Berkeley's faculty and alumni have won 72 Nobel Prizes, 45 MacArthur Fellowships, 15 Turing Awards, 20 Academy Awards, 11 Pulitzer Prizes, and discovered 6 chemical elements.

The 2013-2014 Times Higher Education Assessment of the world's greatest universities ranked Berkeley #8. Among the world's universities, Berkeley has the 2nd highest number of academic programs ranked in the top-ten.

Berkeley, probably more than any other university in the nation, gained a reputation for student activism during the 1960s with student opposition to the Vietnam War and the Free Speech Movement calling for the lifting of the ban on on-campus political activity and the acknowledgement of the rights of all students to free speech and academic freedom.

Berkeley's proud history for speaking truth to power, its continued commitment to being a college with a conscience, and its embrace of academic excellence make it the ideal backdrop for a week of intense examination of values, ideals, and discourse.