Skill and Strategy Development for All Levels of Public Forum Debate
We provide students of varying levels of experience with the opportunity to explore aspects of Public Forum Debate in a guided setting. From learning basics to advanced strategies, the workshop meets students at their current level and propels them to the next level. Individualized instruction focusing on skill development is provided to each student within a small group laboratory setting (6:1 student to instructor ratio). Students debate an average of 14 rounds (within lab, between labs, and tournament rounds). A workshop practice tournament is held the final two days to provide each student with competition experience.
Level: All Levels
Appropriate for all experience levels. Students are tracked by experience level in small group lab settings.
Summer 2021 Sessions
Session 1: Monday, July 5, 2021 through Saturday July 17, 2021
Session 2: Monday, July 19, 2021 through Saturday, July 31, 2021
We recognize PF is one of the most popular forms of debate and we welcome students from across the US and from abroad. Harvard Debate Council believes in the ability of debate to help engage and change the world and is a leader in international debate experiences, providing students from around the world the opportunity to study different forms of debate on the Harvard campus each summer.
Knowledgeable faculty lecture on topic areas relevant to resolutions debated throughout the year as well as on key public forum strategies and techniques.
After the first week, the workshop focuses on preparation for the tournament practicum. Two days are dedicated to intensive practice including interlab stop/start and redo debates as well as debates within lab. The final two days are devoted to the practice tournament. Throughout the practice tournament, the staff continues to find teachable moments – from modeling tournament practices, to encouraging students to refine arguments and techniques, to strategizing with students, helping them to improve their debating in each successive round. All students not competing in elimination rounds of the practice tournament will judge.
Experienced and dedicated coaches – working in concert with recent high school and college debate competitors – are committed to individualized student learning and personal improvement, enabling students to achieve their goals for the next year. This happens in a unique and rigorous ivy league atmosphere, inspiring students to achieve.
The online workshop will run from 10AM – 6PM EST.
A detailed daily schedule is available on the Canvas site.
Hear from Students
Learn how best to approach and research topics
Research using the most efficient and reliable methods
Craft cases ready to win at the national level
Learn argumentative and rhetorical strategies for winning
Debate Tournament Experience
Extensive experience debating with other students in front of faculty
Hear From US
What Students and Parents Say
I am writing to thoroughly thank you and everyone else involved with the camp. … I questioned how much I could learn without being able to see my classmates, or my instructors. However, I was so wrong. …[T]his has been my best and favorite camp experience ever, even better than the camps I have attended in person. I genuinely learnt so much. Not just about Public Forum, but just how to be more confident, and how to work better with others…I really just wanted to put out my appreciation for how this camp was run. It was so organized, and I was shocked at how much I was able to learn in such a short amount of time. …I feel like I grew so much as a debater, …The staff at camp were incredible. All of the instructors were so helpful and willing to give feedback. ...Furthermore, I really enjoyed how the sessions were on a broad variety of prevalent topics and themes that are especially important today. …[I]t's the life skills that I learnt at camp that I will carry with me for a lifetime. …Thank you. Truly, thank you so much. And thank you to all the other organizers at camp, for making every day so educational, yet also incredible fun. Thank you for all of the amazing memories I now have, and the friends that will last a lifetime!
Public Forum Debater
As the summer winds down, I wanted to send a quick note of thanks for the July debate workshop -- it was definitely a highlight of a bizarre three months. The program not only motivated me to prep for the school year, but it challenged me to take on a large project during an unprecedented time. I had fun participating in the tournament and I grew more than ever as a debater and thinker. The teachers were all extremely helpful and just amazing people.
Public Forum Debater
[My son] really enjoyed the camp the last 2 weeks! Thank you so much for all of the time, planning, and effort that went into making it possible. He truly got a lot out of it.
Mother of Public Forum Debater
My daughter just finished a two-week debate camp with you. She had a great experience. Loved the lectures and teachers; really got a lot from it. … [T]hanks again for organizing such a great virtual program.
Mother of Public Forum Debater
Our Excellent Faculty
Martin Zacharia is the Head Debate Coach at William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois, where he has been a faculty member for the last 12 years. Fremd’s Debate Team currently consists of over 80 students who compete in Public Forum, Congressional, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate. He is a One-Diamond Award Recipient from the National Speech and Debate Association and a member of the IHSA State Debate Committee. Over the last three years, Fremd Debaters have won ICTA N/JV State Championships in all six competitive divisions in LD, PF, and Congress. At the 2017 IHSA Varsity State Tournament, Fremd entered elimination rounds as the Top Seed in both Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas Debate and earned the greatest number of medalists of any school in Illinois, including Top Speaker in Public Forum Debate. In 2017, Martin was elected the Illinois Communication and Theatre Association Head Coach of the Year. This will be Martin’s 5th summer with HDCSW.
School Affiliation: Archbishop McCarthy (FL)
Title: Director of Speech & Debate
Number of Years at School: 3 years (2014-2017)
High School/College Debate Experience: Policy debater at Groves High School (MI) and Wayne State University (MI)
Coaching Experience: 2 years policy at Wayne State University, 2 years parli in South Korea, 2 years public forum in China, 3 years all events at Archbishop McCarthy
Years Previously Taught at other workshops: 5 summers teaching at HDCSW (public forum, parli, public speaking and argument), 2 summers teaching at JDI (policy)
Harry has debated for Cranbrook for four years. He has amassed 3 career bids to the TOC and appeared in outrounds of many tournaments including UK, Bronx, Dowling, NDCA, and Jack Howe. He also semifinaled at the peach state classic, finaled at the University of Michigan Tournament, and finaled at the 2018 Michigan state tournament.
School Affiliation: Enreach Education
Title: Debate and Public Speaking Coach
Number of Years at School: 1
High School/College Debate Experience: Participated in Public Forum in high school
Coaching Experience: 1 year as a coach at Enreach Education in Shanghai.
Bio: IHSA Varsity State Quarterfinalist in 2010, I’ve judged IHSA state for three years and also judged at other NSDA and Illinois local tournaments. I also have volunteered with William Fremd High School’s debate team (Palatine, IL)
Matthew F. Brandstetter, Ed.D.
School Affiliation: Milton Academy
Title: Speech and Debate Coach/Teacher
High School/College Debate Experience: HS: 4 years; College: 4 years
Coaching Experience: The Harker School (founded and sustained its speech & debate program – 1998-2007); Fairmont Prep (directed public forum debate – 2011-14); Azusa Pacific University (directed parliamentary debate 2015-16); Bishop O’Dowd High School (directed public forum and parliamentary debate – 2017-18); Milton Academy (coach speech and public forum debate – 2018-present)
Years Previously Taught at other Workshops: 2 years – (The Harker School) & (Fairmont Prep)
School Affiliation: University of Oklahoma, Parli Debate Team Captain
High School/College Debate Experience: 4 years of competing in high school Public Forum (Illinois State Champion 2016 & 2017), 2 years of competing in collegiate parliamentary debate (Oklahoma State Champion 2018, National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence qualifier 2018, ranked as high as #19 nationally)
Coaching Experience: 2 years of coaching/ judging high school PF & LD, helped coach 2018 Illinois State Champs in PF
School Affiliation: University of Chicago Lab Schools, Chicago IL
Title: Head Debate Coach
Number of years at school: 2
Debate experience: 4 years high school policy debate at Maine East, Park Ridge Illinois. 2 years college debate in modified public forum style, A. Craig Baird Debate Forum at the University of Iowa
Coaching Experience: 2 years policy coach at University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, 2 years public forum coach at William Fremd High School, Palatine IL.
Other Relevant Info:
Sonny has coached top speakers and teams to elims at several national circuit policy debate tournaments across the US, as well as coached teams to elims and finals at Illinois State championships in public forum.
2016 – Assistant coach of the year, Illinois Communication and Theatre Association
2013 – Oral presentation: “Debate as a graduate medical pedagogy,” AMSA National Convention medical conference, Washington DC.
2012 – Moderator, Public debate at the University of Illinois at Chicago on the Affordable Care Act, debaters included past presidents of the American Medial Association, Physicians for a National Health Plan, Chicago Medical Society, and the Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine
Chelsea has debated for Flanagan for five years, serving as debate captain for 3 years. She has co-founded the Flanagan debate outreach program, coaching neighboring middle schools and elementary schools. Additionally, she has worked under the Broward Debate program and served as Beyond Resolved’s Wealth and Class Initiative Head for the past year. She has made it in out rounds in major circuit tournaments such as Georgetown’s Spring Invitational, BR Classic, NSDA Nationals, and Yale.
4 Years of PF debate at Schaumburg High School, serving as President of the team and achieving success at local, state, and national tournaments. I also have four years of college debate for Illinois State’s NFA-LD team, where I have made it to late out rounds at a number of national tournaments. I am a three time national qualifier for NFA LD debate, Finalist at Western Kentucky Fall Fiesta tournament (2018), Quarter Finalist at Washburn University’s Debate Tournament, in which I placed in the top 8 of all competitors, Octo-Finalist at Webster University’s Gorlok Gala, in which I was ranked among the top 16 of over 70 competitors across the nation, Octo- Finalist at Illinois State’s NFA- LD tournament, in which I was ranked among the top 16 of 50 debaters across the nation, Semi-finalist at Los Positas College’s Talk Hawk tournament. Two-time selection to the Alexis Elliott Memorial Round Robin hosted by Western Kentucky (2019, 2020). Led the ISU debate team to a historic finish at the 2021 National Forensics Association National Tournament. Finished as a triple octo-finalist and was the first debater to clear to elimination rounds from ISU in 6 years. ISU finished as the 11th place team in the nation (highest in school history) with only two debaters.
Register for 2021
Applications are due by June 15, 2021.