Stanford Invitational Tournament

Our summer 2020 schedule is now available and registration is open - sign up to secure a space in your preferred session!

Beginners' Introduction to Debate

This series of programs is designed to be the starting place for students who are just beginning their speech & debate career.  We offer a 1-Week Introduction to Argumentation & Debate which covers the fundamentals and basics of argumentation and debate so that students learn the bedrock skills necessary to enter into one of our debate format specific sessions (ex Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, Individual Events, Congressional Debate, etc) at a more advanced level.  This session will cover argument theory, basic debate research skills, "flowing" (note taking for debate), and other important topics.  In addition, there will be an introductory survey of the specific formats of competitive debate so that students can make an informed choice about which format to choose for their entry into forensics.

We realize that it is daunting to choose your debate format before you come to camp in the summer, so we offer several longer Beginners’/Intro Flex Packages which allow students to continue into the specific debate format of their choice immediately after completing the survey component of the 1-Week Introduction to Argumentation & Debate session:



2020 Beginners' Introduction to Debate Staff Members Include:

Check back closer to the start of camp for details on our 2020 staff

We will continue to add additional staff members as enrollment and availability dictate. Details are posted on additional staff members as they are confirmed and as we have complete biographic information available. Staff listing may not be fully up to date or reflect all hires to date.


2019 Beginners' Introduction to Debate Staff Members Included:

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Brian Manuel (Debate Programs Coordinator)

Brian Manuel, Debate Programs Coordinator

Brian is the Director of Debate at Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School in New York and Director of Policy Debate at Stanford University, in addition to serving as a consultant for the National Speech & Debate Association. Widely recognized for his unrivaled talent in revitalizing traditional programs, Brian was named the 2008 Michael Bacon Coach of the Year and 2016 Val A. Browning Director of the Year. He has been coaching for nearly 20 years and was recently elected to the Executive Board of the National Debate Coaches Association.

Under his leadership, Edgemont’s debate program has flourished, winning five state championships and countless speaker awards, as well as presenting to the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. His students championed the 2015 Georgetown Day School Invitational and 2018 Mamaroneck Round Robin in Policy Debate; 2018 Harrison Round Robin and 2019 Newark Round Robin in Lincoln-Douglas Debate; and 2016 Lakeland Round Robin, 2016 Westchester Classic, 2018 University of Michigan High-School Tournament, and 2019 Lakeland Round Robin in Public Forum Debate. After past outround appearances in Policy and Lincoln-Douglas, Edgemont will be represented in all principal debate events at this year’s Tournament of Champions. Brian has enjoyed equal success at Stanford, where he coached its first team in two decades—and fourth team ever—to qualify for the National Debate Tournament, finishing in the top 30 in both 2013 and 2015.

Over the course of his professional career, Brian has coached for Harvard University, College Preparatory School, Cathedral Preparatory School, Chattahoochee High School, Lakeland High School, and Scranton High School. His students have advanced to elimination rounds at every major national tournament, including NSDA, NDCA, NCFL, and CEDA Nationals. He also coached the champions of the 2003 Big Bronx Invitational, 2008 Barkley Forum, and 2012 Golden Desert Tournament in Policy Debate, along with the 2007 NCFL finalists, 2012 NSDA finalists, and 2013 Phyllis Flory Barton top speaker.

During the summer, Brian serves as the Academic Director at the Stanford National Forensic Institute. He previously taught workshops at the University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, Georgetown University, and Millennial Speech & Debate. Brian is looking forward to his eleventh summer at SNFI!


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Caspar Arbeeny (Instructor)

Caspar Arbeeny, Instructor

Caspar Arbeeny is a rising senior at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. He competed in public forum debate at Poly Prep in NY for all four years of high school, and hascoached public forum for Edgemont Jr/Sr. High Schools for the last three years. Over the course of his competitive career, Caspar amassed 12 bids to the tournament of champions, reached the quarterfinal round at the 2016 Tournament of Champions, reached the semifinal round at the 2015 Yale Invitational, and championed the 2016 Lexington Winter Invitational. As a coach, he has helped three different teams qualify to the Gold Tournament of Champions, as well as outrounds at numerous national tournamnets. Caspar is incredibly excited to be working at SNFI this summer.


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Hanh Do (Instructor)

Hanh Do, Instructor

Hanh Do has been involved in competitive debate for the past 24 years on the collegiate and the high school level as a coach, consultant, and adjudicator.  Her students have cleared and placed at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Isidore Newman, Harvard-Westlake, The Glenbrooks, Holy Cross, Grapevine, Hockaday, and the UT Longhorn Classic.  In addition to teaching PF since its inception, she has instructed in LD, policy, parli, BP, and Worlds Schools Debate.  She has had the immense privilege of traveling internationally to adjudicate and her team in 2016 cleared and placed in the Pan American Debating Championships.  Currently she is the Assistant Director of Forensics at John Paul II in Plano, Texas and has served as the Big Questions Chair for the past two years at the National Speech and Debate Association's National Tournament.  


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Natalie Polanco (Instructor)

Natalie Polanco, Instructor

Natalie is the Director of Forensics at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York. With a wide range of experience in the activity, she has overseen the growth of Packer’s first-ever Speech & Debate Team to include 14 active competitors in only its second year of existence. Her students were co-champions in Varsity Public Forum, finalists and quarterfinalists in Junior Varsity Public Forum, and octafinalists in Novice Public Forum at the 2019 Westchester Classic, earning a total of five speaker awards. In addition to qualifying for this year’s Tournament of Champions and NCFL Grand Nationals, her students advanced to elimination rounds at Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, and Bronx Science. Natalie represented student interests as a member of the NSDA’s Public Forum Ad Hoc Committee, which was tasked with evaluating a number of proposed changes to the event, and currently serves on the Public Forum Wording Committee. She looks forward to spending another summer at SNFI!



Upcoming Camps

1-Week Introduction to Argumention & Debate

Speech & debate is a very powerful activity which teaches students many skills which are in high demand in the contemporary world: public speaking, research skills, writing and logical thinking!  Students in this session will learn the bedrock theories and methods necessary to enter the world of competitive speech & debate.  There will also be a brief introduction to the major standardized formats of competitive debate which are offered at high schools around the natio...

2-Week Beginners' Flex Package

The 2-Week Beginners' Flex Package

3-Week Beginners' Core Flex Package

The 3-Week Beginners' Core Flex Package

4-Week Beginners' Experience Flex Package

The  4-Week Beginners' Flex Package Experience