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Aerie Program

Wheeler Debate Team
Sixty Upper School students are participating in debate as part of Wheeler's Aerie program this school year.  More than 20 students took part in last Spring's State Debate Tournament, taking honors in both Novice and Varsity Categories as teams and individual speakers.
Tournament Schedule 2013-14
Locations may change; please check back the week before the tournament. The tournament dates will not change unless there is a snow day.
Please enter the tournament dates into your family calendar:
Parent volunteer judges
October 18 - Mount Hope High School (Bristol)

THANK YOU - Callender, Fink (Wu),   Lee, Harrington, Woolsey, Hanna, Lee, Homer, Caron (Esposito), Kent (Lutterbeck)
November 15 - Cumberland High School

THANK YOU - Dickstein (Saccone), Sultana, Blacklock, Pezzuco,  Shimberg, Salinger, Markov-Riss, Hall, Katz, Hojman, Marrinan, Vijayendra, Woolsey
December 13 - Classical High School

 THANK YOU - Jiang, Grady, Hopfenberg, Salinger, Best, Homer,  Goldin (Usher), Ward, Barr, O'Shea, Sawoski, Bennet
January 10 - New England Tech

 Jiang, Bennet, Hayda, Miller, Lowinger, Abrames (Martin), Nugent (Hancox), Khanbhai, [Asst - Housberg]

February 7  - Mount Hope High School

 Phornphutkul, Callender, Vorenberg , Hamilton, (Jackson),  Michaels, McMahon, Surti, Guo
February 28 - State Championship Tournament (for those debaters who qualify) at Barrington High School
Parents: if you already know which tournament you would like to fulfill your parent judging requirement, send me an email at to reserve a spot.
Parent Instructions for Tournaments
  • Students are expected to dress up, but please keep in mind that some of the locations are hot and stuffy while at other schools they turn the heat way down on weekends to cut costs. Wearing layers is best.
  • I do suggest that students bring lunch and/or snacks. Food is sold at some of the tournaments, but not others, and it is always very overpriced. It’s a long day, so food helps keep everyone in good spirits.
  • There is plenty of time between rounds for students to do homework, if they have the will and motivation. However, I cannot really recommend bringing laptops, ipads or other expensive electronics because in my experience students used to the wonderful, safe envrironment of Wheeler tend to have a hard time being vigilant of their possessions in less secure places.
  • If your child is going to be riding the team bus:
    • They should be dropped off at the Wheeler parking lot at 8:00am
    • They can be picked up from the Wheeler parking lot some time between 5:30 and 6:30pm. They can text or call you at the end of the tournament so you know exactly what time to expect them.
  • If you are going to drop off and pick up your child directly from the host school:
    • Please arrive no later than 8:30am
    • Your child will call or text you when the tournament is almost over so you know when to come for pick up
    • Please do not pick up your child before the end of the tournament; if there are exigent circumstances, please get in touch with me.
  • If you are letting your child drive him/herself, or get a ride from a friend who can drive:
    • Please make sure that your child leaves in time to arrive at the host school by 8:30am.
    • Students who drive themselves or get rides from friends must pledge that they are not going to ask about leaving early!
    • Only students whose parents have given me written permission will be allowed to drive themselves, or to get rides from other students.
Parent Judging Requirement
In order for debate tournaments to happen, we need volunteers to judge the debates. In each debate, two students from one school debate against two students from another school, meaning that there needs to be one judge for every four debaters. Therefore, Wheeler (and every other school) MUST bring one judge for every four debaters at each tournament. Since there are five tournaments per year, but not every student attends each tournament, we have the following parent judging requirement:
            Each student must have a parent judge at ONE of the five tournaments.
Note that this requirement could be filled by an older sibling, other adult relative, a family friend or a Wheeler alum who is friends with your child. The only prerequisites are that the judge must have graduated high school, and must be fluent and fully comfortable in English. It is also extremely important that whoever fills this requirement understands that if they cancel at the last minute, it means I have to tell four students that they will be unable to compete.
Volunteer judges must be available from 8:30am to approximately 4:00pm on the day of the tournament. Breakfast and lunch are provided for judges. The day starts with an hour and a half of training, followed by three rounds of debate. After that, judges may leave, or stay for the award ceremony.
Although this is a serious time commitment, it is also a lot of fun. You get to see some great performances by passionate and informed high schoolers. There is also plenty of down time between the different portions of the day, so if you bring a book or some work, you can also be productive. Most parents tell me at the end of the day that they’d be happy to do it again.
If you have questions or concerns with this requirement, please don’t hesitate to contact me at
Debate Team Photo Gallery
Debate Team photo album
Parent Volunteer Judges
Instructions for parent volunteer judges
  • If you are joining us on the team bus, meet in the Wheeler parking lot at 8:00am. If you prefer to meet us at the tournanment, please arrive by 8:30am.
  • Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
  • Unlike the students, you do not have to dress up. Wear what’s comfortable, keeping in mind that some host schools are hot and stuffy, while others turn the heat way down on weekends to cut costs.
  • Please bring a book, crossword puzzle, some work, etc; you can get a lot done in between portions of the tournament. It is also helpful to bring something to write with.
  • There is a training session at the beginning of each tournament. Although you will feel like you have no idea what to do, keep in mind that at every tournament, a third to a half of all the judges have never judged a debate before, so you are not alone!
  • I will be adding resources about the rules for judging to this website, and depending on interest I may try to schedule some kind of pre-training.
Debate Team Coach
Ange Strom-Weber
Aerie Staff; Community Service Learning Director; Debate Coach
Grad Year: 1999
Student Instructions For Tournaments
  • You are expected to dress up! However, please keep in mind that some of the locations are hot and stuffy, while at other schools they turn the heat way down on weekends to cut costs. So I strongly recommend that you wear layers; it is a very long day and you want to be comfortable.

  • Bring lunch or snacks. Many schools have lunch or snacks for sale, but they are may be overpriced (schools use this as a fundraiser). Also, some schools do not sell any food. So it’s always a good idea to bring some of your own food!

  • Bring homework! There is a lot of time spent sitting around between rounds, and if you get some homework done, you will have that much more time to relax the rest of the weekend.

  • Bring lots of blank paper.

  • I cannot recommend bringing expensive electronics like laptops or ipads. There is no rule against it, but you have to remember that you can’t leave possessions unattended. If you brought electronics, you would have to be mindful of keeping your backpack with you at all times.

  • Leaving early: there is no leaving early.

  • There are many of you and only one of me. So I need to be able to count on you to bring your best selves and represent Wheeler in a positive way.