The Harvard-Westlake Institute for Debate & Speech Studies

Home of The HW Debate Team, debateLA Summer Debate & Speech Institute, the debateLA Challenge, January Team USA Training & Tournaments

The Harvard-Westlake Institute for Debate & Speech Studies has many programs available for students of all levels, abilities and interest.

- Summer Programs (debateLA): Los Angeles' most prestigious national summer debate & speech program - for students in grades 5-12;

- Our Tournaments: January's TOC qualifier in LD (on MLK weekend 2016), our MSPDP tournament and the Ronald Reagan Foundation Great Debate Communicator Western Qualifiers.

- The HW Debate Team: Our competitive team. For students in grades 7-12 at Harvard-Westlake School.

Don't know much about debate? Or why you should join or consider a summer program?

Harvard-Westlake Debate Programs & Tournaments

SUMMER Programs

debateLA is the summer program hosted on the campuses of Harvard-Westlake School and the University of California at Los Angeles. 

We offer programs for students from all schools in many debate and speech styles for students in grades 5-12.

We have put together a faculty with a record of coaching success unmatched by any other summer debate program in the country. 

Since 2001, our senior faculty have coached 7 TOC Champions, 5 NSDA (NFL) Champions, 2 NDCA Champions8 Novice National Champions, and dozens of elimination round participants at these national tournaments.

Programs for:

- Top-level in Lincoln-Douglas and NSDA Speech Events;

- Beginner & Intermediate in LD, Policy, Middle School Public Debate Program, World Schools and NSDA Speech Events;

- Public Speaking & Argumentation program for students with little interest in the competitive debate & speech.

Our faculty includes:

- Debate coaches/teachers from some of the West Coast's most prestigious independent schools, including: Harvard-Westlake, Marlborough, Brentwood, Immaculate Heart, The Harker School.

Our Tournaments 

The debate team hosts a High School tournament and an Middle School tournament, both in January. 

This year, between the two tournaments, we had 325 debaters from 21 states, representing 77 schools. 

Our middle school tournament is one of two inter-league events, drawing teams from leagues across southern California. 

Our high school tournament is the West Coast's largest high-school run LD debate tournaments. Prior to the tournament we host a challenge-format invitational called The debateLA Challenge. Our Lincoln-Douglas tournament is an Octafinalist bid to the Tournament of Champions.

On May 9, 2015, we will be hosting the qualifier for the Ronald Reagan Presidental Foundation's "Great Communicator Debate Series."

Any student, in grades 9-12, during the 2014-2015 school year, who lives within the United States and is enrolled in an accredited US High School, Home School, or Home Study program is eligible to compete in the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Debate Series

Upcoming Events Hosted by HW Debate

The Latest for HW Debate Events

The Harvard-Westlake Debate TEAM

HW-the debate team.png

The Harvard-Westlake Debate Team is a nationally-recognized program with debaters competing in grades 7-12.

7th graders participate in MSPDP - the Middle School Public Debate Program.

9th-12th graders participate in primarily in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

8th graders can participate in either (and both) types of debate.

National Tournament Accomplishments

National Debate Coaches Association

Semifinalists: Annie Kors '14 (2014), Jake Sonnenberg '11 (2011); Quarterfinalists: Cameron Cohen '16 (2014), Annie Kors '14 (2013), Michelle Choi '12 (2012); Octafinalists: Jake Sonnenberg '11 (2010), Ben Sprung-Keyser '11 (2010), Michelle Choi '12 (2011), Annie Kors '14 (2011, 2012), Shelby Heitner '14 (2012); Double-Octafinalists: Nick Steele '16 (2014); Top Speaker:Annie Kors '14 (2014)

Tournament Of Champions

Semifinalists: Jake Sonnenberg '11 (2010); Octafinalists: Jake Sonnenberg '11 (2011); Elimination Rounds: Annie Kors '14 (2014), Ben Sprung-Keyser '11 (2011), Michelle Choi '12 (2011, 2012); Qualifiers: Sean Nadel '09 (2009), Ben Sprung-Keyser '11 (2010, 2011), Jake Sonnenberg '11 (2010, 2011), Michelle Choi '12 (2011, 2012) Brendan Gallagher '13 (2012, 2013), Annie Kors '14 (2012, 2013), Michael O'Krent '14 (2012, 2013, 2014), Julie Engel '14 (2013, 2014), Andrew Sohn '13 (2013), Shelby Heitner '14 (2013, 2014), Tommy Choi '14 (2013), Cameron Cohen '16 (2014), Nick Steele '16 (2014)

Novice National Tournament

Champions: Jesse Nadel '17 & Noah Simon '17 (co-champions 2014), Cameron Cohen '16 (2013), Tommy Choi '14 & Annie Kors '14 (co-champions 2011), Ben Sprung-Keyser '11 (2009); Semifinalists: Nick Steele '16 (2013); Michelle Choi '12 (2009), Brendan Gallagher '13 (2010), Julie Engel '14 (2011); Quarterfinalists: Connor Engel '17 (2014), Dario Madyoon '17 (2014), Kevin Wesel '17 (2014), Jake Sonnenberg '11 (2009), Adam Bennett '12 (2009), Andrew Sohn '13 (2010), Michael O'Krent '14 (2011); Octafinalists: Amelia Miller '15 (2012) Julius Pak '12 (2009), Shelby Heitner '14 (2011)

NFL Nationals

Champion: Ben Sprung-Keyser '11 (2010); Qualifier: Jake Sonnenberg '11 (2010)

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Harvard-Westlake School

3700 Coldwater Canyon
Studio City, CA 91604
p: 818-72HWDB8 (818-724-9328)