A Return to In-Person Debate for Hackley Teams

On Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1, eight Upper School students competed in more than 20 rounds of debate at the Yale Invitational in New Haven, Conn., for the first time in three years.

Vivek Malik ’25 and Arjun Virk ’25 earned a 3-3 record in their first ever Varsity Public Forum event, narrowly missing reaching the elimination rounds. Arushi Chandra ’23, Harper Kelsey ’24, Sam Sanders ’24, and Mason Napach ’23 each had a 3-2 record in the Parliamentary division, also just missing the elimination round. Jad Benslimane ’24 and Spencer Ormsby ’24 went 2-3 in our first in-person Parli event since the winter of 2020. A special thanks to Ted Kelsey, who traveled with the team and judged in the Parli event all day on Saturday.

The team also enjoyed dinner with Yale freshmen and Hackley alumni Noah Tirschwell ’22 and Molly Reinmann ’22 on Yale’s beautiful campus.

In the meantime, over in New York City, seven Hackley Middle School students attended the first Novice Debate Scrimmage in three years at the City & Country School on Saturday, Oct. 1. Fifth graders Ryan L. and Sophie P. participated in two rounds of practice debates along with eighth graders Nico K., Lila S., and Kiki J. Fifth grader Misha P. and eighth grader Owen S. came to observe.

These students are preparing for participation in the NY Debate League, a division of the Public Debate Program, which has operated in the New York area for more than a decade. The first tournament will be held on Nov. 5 in NYC, and the second event will be hosted here at Hackley on Dec. 3. Middle School Debate is a club and afterschool activity that teaches students argumentation and research skills to prepare for academic debates.

All told, it was a wonderful way to return to the normalcy of in-person debating.