Shannon Bonet

Los Altos/Notre Dame Victorious at Inaugural Stephen Stewart Invitational

Shannon Bonet
Los Altos/Notre Dame Victorious at Inaugural Stephen Stewart Invitational

This weekend, 30 parliamentary teams convened to compete at the two day inaugural Stephen Stewart Invitational at Milpitas High School. Prevailing on a 2-1 decision, Los Altos/Notre Dame’s Spencer Dembner & Lilly Hackworth secured their 7th championship this season by defeating Los Gatos’s Elan Friedland & Sawye Raygani.  

Finalists pose before their final round starts.

Finalists pose before their final round starts.

Despite the limited amount of entries, all teams with at least a 3-2 record were ensured an advancement to elimination rounds. Conveniently, there was an even set of 16 winning records to conduct a full octofinal round on Sunday afternoon.

In all rounds, teams debated policy resolutions that incorporated a state actor. “I think some sides were definitely easier to argue for some resolutions,” said Los Altos debater Shirley Cheng, “there was ground for the [difficult] side but you ha[d] to do a lot more thinking.”

There were mixed winner results that indicated a possible affirmative or negation bias for some resolutions. Ratios of the winner results for the 5 preliminary rounds, courtesy of topic writer and MVLA coach Julie Herman, are shown below:

  1. The USFG should eliminate electronic transfer of highly classified documents (7-8 Negation) 
  2. The USFG should create emissions reductions targets that act as a precondition for receiving federal funding for corporations (8-7 Affirmative) 
  3. Germany should cut state funding for the National Democratic Party (10-5 Affirmative) 
  4. The USFG should ban the use of cell-site simulators by law enforcement agencies (5-10 Negation)
  5. In the case of Moore v Texas, SCOTUS should rule narrowly in favor of Moore that Texas' scheme for determining ineligibility for execution based on mental disability violates the 8th Amendment (7-8 Negation)  

Of the five preliminary rounds, only two teams, Dembner & Hackworth and Evergreen Valley’s Jwalin Joshi & Aditya Mehta, emerged with 5-0 records. Even so, trophy awards were only presented to debaters who advanced beyond octofinals.

Awards were also presented to the top five open speakers. Dembner and Campolindo’s Krish Visht took 4th and 5th place, while Los Altos’s William Zeng and Mehta took 2nd and 3rd. In addition to triumphing as tournament champion, Hackworth took home the award for top speaker.


Los Altos/Notre Dame Spencer Dembner & Lilly Hackworth def. Evergreen Valley Jayasree Peri & Nidhi Shettigar (3-0)

Evergreen Valley Gabriela Escobar & Connie Lu def. Evergreen Valley Mina Mohebbi & Bryant Tran (W/O)

Campolindo’s Austen Li & Ming Qian def. Los Altos’s Shirley Cheng & Ryan Lee (3-0)

Leland James Simmons & Toby Simmons def. Valley Christian Sai Alisetty & Katherine Ho (2-1)

Los Altos Jeffrey Hong & William Zeng def. Nueva Ben Cheng & Robby Voorhis (3-0)

Los Gatos Elan Friedland & Sawye Raygani def. Campolindo Shannon Bonet & Sharon Yuan (2-1)

Notre Dame/Los Altos Daenerys Pineda & Danny Vesurai def. Campolindo Kevin Deng & Krish Visht (2-1)

Valley Christian Somu Amujala & Prasanna Jayaganesh def. Evergreen Valley Aditya Mehta & Jwalin Joshi (2-1) 


Los Altos/Notre Dame Dembner & Hackworth def. Evergreen Valley Escobar & Lu (3-0)

Campolindo’s Li & Qian def. Leland Simmons & Simmons (2-1)

Los Gatos Friedland & Raygani def. Los Altos Hong & Zeng (2-1)

Notre Dame/Los Altos Pineda & Vesurai def. Valley Christian Amujala & Jayaganesh (3-0)


Los Altos/Notre Dame DH def. Campolindo’s LQ (2-1)

Los Gatos FR def. Notre Dame/Los Altos PV (2-1)


Los Altos/Notre Dame DH def. Los Gatos FR (2-1)

Results can be found here