The Harrison High School Debate Team continues to venture into unchartered territories by claiming their first two national varsity wins, at Harvard University’s National Championship and The Beltway Tournament, and a New York State District Championship captured by Harrison’s Geller siblings.
Junior Danny DeBois won the varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate division of Harvard University’s National Championship, often referred to in the debate world as the U.S. Open of debate. This year’s three-day event, held over President’s Day weekend, saw over 600 varsity and junior varsity debaters from 30 states contend for the ultimate prize. DeBois entered elimination rounds with a 5-1 record and secured his next five rounds by unanimous decision, ending with a 2-1 decision in the final to amass an astounding 11-1 record.
DeBois and Harvard seem to have a symbiotic relationship. As a freshman, DeBois was the junior varsity champion and as a sophomore was the tournament’s top varsity speaker. He is the only debater in the history of the Harvard University tournament to win both the JV and Varsity divisions.
Two weekends later, DeBois was named the Champion of The Beltway Tournament held at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland. With his back-to-back championships, DeBois has maintained his standing with the National Forensic League as the #1-ranked Lincoln Douglas debater in the United States.
The Geller sisters, senior Patty-Jane and sophomore Amy, were declared Co-Champions of the New York State’s National Forensic League District tournament held the first weekend of March at Pelham High School. The District tournament determines which students will compete at the National Forensic League’s National Championship in June. Patty-Jane, based on pre-tournament seeding, will represent Harrison in Birmingham, Alabama at the week-long National Championship at the end of the school year.
Not to be outdone, the novice division of the Harrison High School Debate team continues to place in the top 8 at every tournament they attend. Freshmen Bea Almeida and Ella Eisinger had impressive showings as junior varsity debaters at the Harvard tournament. In the March tournament at Lakeland High School, both Sarah Ryan and Kathryn Kenny reached the semifinals and Evan Burger reached the quarterfinals with each capturing Top 6 Speaker honors. Elyssa Alfieri and Constantinos Staten were among those in the top 10 to be awarded Tournament Speaker distinctions.