NSDA School of Excellence in Debate
2006, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015
Bellaire Debate
Member of the
National Forensic
League since 1955.
Bellaire Debate
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2015 NSDA National Speech & Debate tournament results

School of Excellence in Debate
Marina Finley  3rd place
Eric Bailey  semifinals
Allan Ngo  semifinals

Ajay Singh/Suneal Vemuri  round 8

Worlds School Debate
Anu Narayanan  double octofinals

Bickel debate team places top 8 in the World

Courtesy of Liana Wang
Ted Strickland (far left) and William Brewer (far right) present (from left to right) senior Aaron Birenbaum and juniors
Liana Wang, Christina Tan and Amber Liu with their Elite 8 award at the Council on Foreign Relations.

James Fang (Three Penny Press)
Senior Aaron Birenbaum and juniors Amber Liu, Christina Tan and Liana Wang placed 8th in the
world in New York City on May 1-3 in the International Public Policy Forum (IPPF), a team debate
forum otherwise known as just "Bickel" for its sponsor the Bickel and Brewer Foundation (and also
New York Univerisity [NYU]).
This type of debate involves submitting a paper affirming or negating a certain topic; this year's
topic regarded whether or not the US government's mass surveillance programs are justified and
should be downsized.  The other side negated that there is any need for curtailment.  Liu explained
the process.
"The sides are designated and the affirmative team goes first," Liu said.  "You exchange essays back
and forth with opponents.  You have a week to write the rebuttal paper.  Then, three judges evaluate
the round and vote either affirmative of negative.  Then whoever wins moves on to the next round."
It was a ton of hard work for all of them, Liu said.
"We spent a lot of evenings together working on the papers, researching, writing and editing," Liu
said.  "The hours especially ramp up after we made it to top 8; we spent a whole month preparing
after school, at home and on weekends.  Mostly it was making sure that we were organized,
addressed arguments while showing the big picture and clarifying why our justifications and argu-
ments should be preferred over those of our opponents rather than just stating them."
Birenbaum agreed that the hours could get pretty long trying to make a lengthy case while still meeing
judges expectations of eloquence.
It got pretty intense the day before a paper was due," Birenbaum said.  "I could expect to go to sleep
at best at two a.m. on those days."
But their hard work did not go unnoticed.  Birenbaum, Liu, Tan and Wang made it all the way to the
top 8, or the "Elite 8."  These 8 teams were given all expense paid trip to New York City where they
debated orally at the Council on Foreign Relations.
"I felt a lot of pride because it was like all those hours of working on papers really paid off,"
Birenbaum said.  "Everyone was really excited to be in New York.  We had dinner at the NYU
President's penthouse, which was super cool, and we got super delicious macarons at this French
place called Laduree.  And we also made friends from different states like New Jersey and Alabama."

Courtesy of Aaron Birenbaum
Senior Aaron Birenbaum talks battle strategy with the late debate coach Richard Bean.

The Bickel team achieved their success under the guidance of the late debate coach Richard Bean.
"He played a pretty important role," Birenbaum said.  "He edited our paper and would help us think
of logical flaws and points to attack in our opponents' papers.  For the oral debates, he would have us
debate in front of him so he could give us really helpful critiques."
Liu revealed what working with Bean was like.
"He'd read over our papers and if we had a really cool sassy line, he'd comment that he loved it be-
cause it was super 'salty' or something quirky like that," Liu said.  "He was super helpful and always
willing to work with us.  He also kept us on top of the headlines.  One time, we kept marking edits to
a paper, and yet he still managed to turn it in within three minutes before the deadline."
Wang reflected back on their time in New York.
"I'm so, so grateful for those three days in NYC and that the last tournament we shared with Bean
was one so alive, one so painted with good memories, one dotted with laughter, maple donuts and
one that thrummed with the heartbeat of the city and sparkled with its lights."

South Texas NSDA District Tournament results April 30-May 2
Suneal Vemuri/Ajay Singh National Qualifiers
Eric Chu/Samhith Punukula National Qualifiers

Worlds School Debate
Anu Narayanan  National Qualifier

UIL CX State Tournament results March 13-14

TFA State Tournament results March 5-7
Aaron Birenbaum/Liana Wang  double octofinals
Narain Reddy/Suneal Vemuri  double octofinals

Eric Bailey  State Champion
Marina Finley  3rd place
Danny Li  finals

Matthew Tabibzadaegan  semifinals

US Extemp
Danny Li  semifinals

Foreign Extemp
Amber Liu  quarterfinals

Public Forum
Amber Liu/Allan Ngo  double octofinals
Bowen Song/George Zhang double octofinals
Allan Ngo 1st place Speaker  State Champion

South Texas NSDA District Congress results February 21
1st place Sweepstakes
Eric Bailey  National Qualifier
Anu Narayanan  7th place

House 1
Danny Li
Bernard Li  8th place

Bellaire High School Advances to “Sweet 16”
                                      Round of Global Debate Competition
Debate teams from around the world entered the Bickel & Brewer / NYU International Public Policy
Forum (IPPF), but only 16 remain – including Bellaire High School from Bellaire, Texas.  Aaron
Birenbaum, Amber Liu, Christina Tan and Liana Wang are the members of this years team. If Bellaire
wins this round of the contest, the team will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF Finals
competition in New York City on May 2, 2015.
The IPPF is the first and only competition that gives high school students around the world the
opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. By advancing, the
students remain eligible to win a $10,000 grand prize.

“The Bellaire High School team has demonstrated  an excellent command of a very complex and
timely topic – mass surveillance,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Bickel & Brewer and a
founder of the IPPF. “These students will now compete for a chance to win a trip to New York City
to compete in the IPPF Finals.”

Teams from Bellaire High School were IPPF Champions in the 2008-2009 and 2007-2008

This year, 243 teams – representing schools in 32 U.S. states and 21 countries – submitted
qualifying round essays affirming or negating the IPPF topic, “Resolved: Mass surveillance is not a
justified method of governmental intelligence gathering.” Those essays were reviewed by a
committee, which determined the top 64 teams based on the overall quality of each 2,800-word

In early November, the top 64 teams began a single-elimination, written debate competition. Each
team was assigned a position (affirmative or negative) and then volleyed papers back and forth with
another team via email for the next six weeks. A panel of judges reviewed the essays and selected the
winning teams. In the “Round of 64,” Bellaire defeated BC Academy from Langley, British Columbia,
Canada. In the “Top 32” round, Bellaire defeated duPont Manual High School from Louisville,

The “Sweet 16” round is now underway. Bellaire High School is competing against Durham
Academy from Durham, North Carolina. The top 16 teams represent schools from nine U.S. states
and five countries, including the United States, Czech Republic and Canada.

On March 19, the “Elite 8” teams will be announced. Those teams will travel to New York City on
an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF Finals in New York City. The Finals will take place on May 2,
2015, at the Harold Pratt House.

The IPPF Finals give students the opportunity to participate in oral debates in front of some of the
world’s foremost experts in debate, business, law and politics. Judges will include Bickel & Brewer
Partner William A. Brewer III and New York University President John Sexton. The winning team
will take home the “Bickel & Brewer Cup” and a $10,000 grand prize.

The “Sweet 16” teams are:

Bellaire High School, Bellaire, Texas
Bob Jones High School, Madison, Alabama (Team #1 and Team #2)
Bridgewater Raritan High School, Bridgewater, New Jersey
Clayton High School, Clayton, Missouri
Durham Academy, Durham, North Carolina
Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy, Lindon, Utah
Kugnus Acts, Closter, New Jersey
Lambert High School, Suwanee, Georgia
St. John's Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
St. Mark's School of Texas, Dallas, Texas
St. Paul Academy and Summit School, St. Paul, Minnesota
Taipei American School, Taipei, Taiwan
Team Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic
Team Singapore, Singapore
Union High School, Camas, Washington

Seven Lakes HS Tournament results February 6-7
Robert Brown  6th place

Amber Liu  3rd place

Texas City HS tournament results January 30-31
Jason Lan  5th place

James Feng/Zi Lu Li  semifinals
Azan Haque/Max Rosenthal  quarterfinals

UIL District CX tournament results
Aaron Birenbaum/Liana Wang State Qualifier
Christina Tan/Samhith Punukula  State Qualifier

Emory University tournament results January 23-25
Eric Bailey  7th place
Marina Finley  semifinals
Danny Li  semifinals

Lamar HS tournament results January 23-24
James Fang/Jacob Sylvester  1st place
Kevin Guo/Gabriel Wu  semifinals
Edward Cen/Ajay Singh  semifinals

Jason Kraynak  octofinals
Jason Lan  double octofinals

Clear Creek HS tournament results January 16-17
Christina Tan/Samhith Punukula  1st place
Edward Cen/Ajay Singh  semifinals

UIL State Congress results January 13-14
Danny Li  finals

Churchill HS tournament results January 9-10
George Zhang  semifinals
Suneal Vemuri/Narain Reddy quarterfinals

Katy HS tournament results January 9-10
Edward Cen/Ajay Singh  2nd place
Christina Tan/Samhith Punukula  semifinals

Stony Point HS tournament results January 2-3
Anu Narayanan/Maya Waterland  2nd place
Benjamin Schwierking/Robert Brown quarters
Amy Yao/Eric Lee  quarters

Salado HS tournament results January 2-3
Anu Narayanan/Maya Waterland  2nd place
Amber Liu/Allan Ngo  semifinals

News & Stories from August, 2014 - December, 2014
Bellaire Debate
Member of the
National Forensic
League since 1955.

Foreign Extemp
George Zhang  National Qualifier

Congressional Debate
Allan Ngo  National Qualifier

Aaron Birenbaum/Liana Wang  2nd place

House 2
Amber Liu  National Qualifier
Matthew Tabibzadaegan  4th place
Robert Brown  8th place

House 3
Marina Finley  National Qualifier
Allan Ngo  3rd place
Bowen Song  4th place
George Zhang  5th place

Robert Brown  finals

George Zhang/Panos Kontoyiannis quarters
Josh Hu/Grant Su  octofinals
Sarah Macia/Jacob Tate  octofinals
Anu Narayanan/Eric Lee  octofinals

Emily Pan  4th place
Matthew Tabibzadaegan  5th place

Daniel Liu/Timothy Wei  octofinals

Robert Brown  2nd place

Jason Lan  3rd place

Marina Finley  1st place

Amber Liu  3rd place

Eric Bailey  6th place

Daniel Liu/Timothy Wei  octofinals

Bernard Li  6th place