ABOUT US

Jonah Williams 

Co-Founder & Director

Virginia Debate Academy

virginiadebateco@gmail.com

Ben Fisher     
Co-Founder & Director
Virginia Debate Academy
virginiadebateco@gmail.com   

Jonah Williams cofounded the Virginia Debate Academy with Benjamin Fisher and Sherry Feng in 2015. Jonah has B.A in Political Science from the College of William & Mary, and he is the former coach of the Chantilly High School Speech and Debate team. During his four years on the Chantilly Debate team in high school, Jonah placed over a dozen times on the local circuit. He qualified for the WACFL Metrofinals tournament three years in a row, where he won the Arlington Diocese once and earned two semi-finals bids. In the Virginia High School League, Jonah won numerous district titles, one regional championship, and he won the State championship in 2013. On the national circuit, Jonah qualified for nationals three times, and placed in the top-32 when he was a sophomore. Additionally, he reached semifinals at two national invitationals, and his team placed third at the Moot Court national tournament during his freshman year of college. Since then, Jonah has coached over two hundred students in Virginia. His students have won numerous awards at all three national tournaments, fifteen high school trophies, and championed WACFL Metrofinals. He also currently teaches debate-related studies to students at schools such as Harvard University and Georgetown University and is a policy analyst for the Federal Government.

Ben is a senior at the University of Virginia. He was head Captain of Chantilly High School’s back-to-back State Championship winning Speech team, and their State Championship winning debate team. He’s been coaching students for 5 years at local schools, including Rachel Carson’s debate team, which placed 1st place at Nationals after he began coaching, and the Nysmith School for the Gifted, which places first consistently at local public forum tournaments. He was an instructor at numerous camps over the years, teaching hundreds students. As a debater, he was ranked the best debater in the state for three years straight by the National Speech and Debate Association. Ben placed 3rd at three national invitational tournaments, and competed in elimination rounds at numerous other national invitationals. He placed top-6 in the Varsity division multiple times on the regional circuit. Ben placed in Impromptu and Extemporaneous forensics events at the district tournament, where his speech team won sweepstakes 4 years in a row.

Sherry Feng

Co-Founder

Virginia Debate Academy 

virginiadebateco@gmail.com

Sultan Seraj
Northern Virginia
virginiadebateco@gmail.com

Sherry is a senior at Duke University. She has been debating for 9 years, starting off her debate career as a nationally-ranked debater at Rachel Carson MS and then becoming one of the top Congressional debaters in the country at Chantilly High School. She won the Virginia State Championship in 2016, championed two prestigious national invitational tournaments, and competed in semi-finals at the nation's three largest largest and most competitive national tournaments —the Tournament of Champions, NSDA Nationals, and CFL Nationals. As a coach, she has led Rachel Carson to two national championships, and taught students from across the country at Harvard University. Sherry will be joining McKinsey and Company as a management consultant. 

Sultan Seraj is a law student with a B.A in Philosophy from George Mason University and the former debate coach of Chantilly High School. During his four years coaching, Chantilly High School won over 15 trophies, including a State championship, and numerous personal awards on the national circuit. He also coached multiple students from schools such as Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. As a debater, Sultan won the Regional and State tournament, placed numerous times at local tournaments, won multiple speaking awards in Lincoln-Douglas debate, and qualified and competed at multiple national tournaments.

 

Kate Wozniak
Northern Virginia
virginiadebateco@gmail.com
Julie Ablimit
Northern Virginia
virginiadebateco@gmail.com

Kate is a rising sophomore at the University of Virginia, where she competes for the university's parliamentary debate team and coaches for the Charlottesville Debate League. In High School, she earned numerous top 3 finishes at the district and regional level and at varsity WACFL tournaments, won the Virginia Lincoln-Douglas state championship in 2016, and placed third at a national tournament in 2017. Kate also competed in Impromptu speech, earning 2nd place at the Virginia state championship 2 years in a row. She was also a member of the 1st place Virginia state champion team for 3 years in a row, and she served as captain of the state-winning team in 2018. Kate also won the Virginia High School League Allstate Achievement Award, the highest award given by the VHSL to academics activities participants. Previously, Kate served as the coach of the Rocky Run Middle School debate team. 

Julie Ablimit is a freshman at the University of Virginia. In high school, she was head captain of her debate team and the coach of Franklin Middle School's debate team. She placed multiple times in the varsity division of local WACFL tournaments; earned medals at two invitational tournaments; competed in out rounds at the national tournament; and won the State tournament twice. 

Harin Ok
Northern Virginia
virginiadebateco@gmail.com
 
 
 

Harin Ok is a Sociology and Economics student at the College of William and Mary, where she competes for her school's parliamentary team.  As a Lincoln-Douglas debater at Oakton High School, where she served as the LD captain (2018-19) and novice coach (2017-18), she competed at Varsity WACFL Metro-Finals three years in a row. Harin debated in late out rounds at state and national invitationals such as the UVA Cavalier Clash and Pennsbury Falcon Invitational and NCFL Grand Nationals. Under her leadership, her team earned 1st place sweepstakes award in LD debate at WACFL Metro-Finals. Similar to her success in High School, Harin has placed at multiple invitational tournaments and received various speaker awards on the college circuit. 

Virginia Debate Academy

 

Background photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

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