Summer 2009 Debate


I am very proud of my debaters at Palo Alto HS.   They seem very excited about the upcoming topic and have been doing a lot of work on their own.  I have high expectations. 

One team even wants to do paperless debate!  That was what originally inspired me to make my own version of the paperless template rather than just helping Whitman with their template.

I’ll be stepping up the amount of coaching I’m doing.  At least for the beginning, I’ll be coming in twice a week (I arrive on campus August 31, whereas Ben Picozzi, the other policy coach, doesn’t get to campus for a few more weeks), and I’ll probably be going to a bunch of tournaments.  And I’ll be interacting with the varsity debaters in addition to the novices. 

I really think that I like teaching.  And debate and working with kids.


I am very unsure about debate for the upcoming year. 

I want to ensure that Stanford’s policy debate program maintains a presence so that, in the future, anyone who is interested in debate and interested in going to Stanford can debate at Stanford.  However, there aren’t enough policy debaters to have a team atmosphere.  There isn’t a critical mass that will influence me to spend my nights doing speaking drills and researching.  I want to maintain the institution of debate, but I’m not sure that I’ll be able to actually debate.

Particularly because there are a bazillion other things that I’m excited about spending my time on.  Like the tech projects that I already talked about or planning events for the Queer Straight Alliance. 

And I think I like coaching more than debating.  I would rather do research for my high schoolers than for myself.  I feel like coaching helps students with a fundamental part of their education (particularly: critical thinking, public speaking, confidence, politics, philosophy, social justice), whereas I feel like I know enough that I don’t need debate for those parts of my education.  Debate would still be educational for me, but it is more important for my high schoolers than it is for me.


I met up with Owen Zahorcak, my high school debate coach, and some friends that I made in high school debate.  It was good to see everyone again, especially since I haven’t seen most of them for a year.  We mostly just reminisced.  We talked a little about the upcoming debate topic, and I talked with Owen a little bit about tech stuff (he isn’t a programmer, but he is computer literate and knows some basic programming stuff, so he is interested in the same tech things as I am) and life stuff.  Mostly, though, it was just stories from when we debated.

And Owen got a Google Android phone!  It really is that cool.