Public Forum Debate Program

Dear Parents and Students,

We are proud to announce that Potomac Tutoring LLC and Speak to Lead LLC will start new debate teams in next school year and expand our exciting program to Northern Virginia and other areas!

Potomac Debate Academy is one of the most successful debate programs in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Our debaters consistently place and win awards at tournaments. Just this past 2016-2017 season, Potomac Debate broke the most number of teams at Middle School Tournament of Champions Nationals, and were crowned the number one team at Club Internationals. However, debate, is not really about winning tournaments or getting top speaker awards, but an interactive and effective way to develop the students’ public speaking, logical reasoning, abstract reasoning, reading, writing, and research skills. Based on our experience, many of these skills are also assessed on the ACT/SAT, and are essential for success in high school, college and beyond. Lastly, colleges are increasingly looking for students’ to be engaged in extracurricular activities outside of school, and debate is one of the best extracurricular activities for students to become involved in.


Head Instructor’s Bio

Potomac Debate Academy was founded by Coach Elisa Chen, who has more than a decade of competitive debate and coaching experience. Coach Elisa was a former high school debater and college debater. In high school, she represented Thomas S. Wootton HS in various Lincoln Douglas (LD), Policy (CX), and Public Forum (PF) competitions. In college, she was a member of the New York University Parliamentary Debate Team and active participant of the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) league. At the height of her debate career, she had the honor of representing both New York University and the United States in the World Debate Championships, in Antalya, Turkey. After college, Coach Elisa went on to earn a Juris Doctor from University of Virginia School of Law and a Master’s of Science in Higher Education from University of Pennsylvania. She chose to pursue a coaching career over a legal career because of her love for her students and her love for debate.

See attached list of winning prizes and contest events/dates:

  • Closing out[1] at the University of Virginia High School Debate Tournament
  • Closing out at the Georgetown University Middle School Debate Tournament
  • Winning 1st Place Team Sweepstakes Championship[2] at Club Nationals
  • Winning 1st Place Speaker at Club Nationals
  • Winning 1st Place Team at Club Nationals
  • Winning Ronald Reagan Regionals, receiving a $1,000 scholarship from Nationals
  • Winning District of Columbia Urban Debate League (“DCUDL”) Regionals in every division and in every year
  • Winning the George Washington Scholarship Debate Tournament
  • Winning 1st Place Speaker[3] at Middle School Nationals: Tournament of Champions
  • Breaking[4] the most number of teams at Middle School Nationals: Tournament of Champions

[1] Closing out: when the final two teams standing are from the same school, both teams are awarded the title of “co-champions” of the tournament.

[2] Sweepstakes: an award given to the best overall performing team at a tournament.

[3] Awarded 1st Place speaker out of 120 debaters.

[4] Breaking: represents teams that advanced out of preliminaries and into eliminations.

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