February Hopper Accolades

Danny Stock


Debate coach jon sharp proudly announced the following news of a historic milestone for the GDS team:

Competing virtually at the Harvard National Forensics Tournament this weekend, three GDS policy debate teams secured full qualification for the year-end Tournament of Champions (TOC), the capstone of the national circuit of competition. The senior teams GDS BS (Charlie Brooks/Alistair Simmons) and GDS MW (Matthew Mason/Nathan Wohlstadter) as well as junior team GDS BL (Julien Berman/Addie Lowenstein) each earned their qualification this weekend, which means that GDS had three fully qualified TOC teams for the first time in living memory. Addie and Julien were Octafinalists, Matt and Nathan were Quarterfinalists, and Charlie and Alistair made it to the Semifinals of the tournament before finally being toppled on a split decision. In addition, four Hoppers were recognized in the top 20 individual speakers: Alistair at 14, Julien at 12 and Matthew and Nathan at 8 and 7, respectively. An additional special shout to Sophie Bronner ’23 and Griffin Brown ’23 in the varsity division and Milo Borek ’23 and Jacob Getlan ’23 in JV—both teams had winning records but did not advance to the elimination rounds. With eight pairs of debaters competing at Harvard, this was the largest number of teams that GDS has ever fielded in competition on a single weekend and it shows.

GDS alumni on Twitter praised the debaters and their former coach. Jessica (Zolt-Gilburne) Berenson ’01 wrote, “It makes me very proud to be a GDS debate alum to see what the team continues to do! Good luck at the TOC to all and perhaps most importantly remember to have fun!”

Congratulations to the team and their coach on their recent success and the continued strengthening of the team.

Model UN 

Two dozen GDS students recently returned (virtually) from their participation in the North Atlantic International Model United Nations (NAIMUN) Conference. 

“The GDS students were totally engaged in all of their virtual sessions, excitedly talking and laughing afterwards about all they learned and all the fun they had,” said Model UN co-advisor and HS history teacher Marjorie Brimley. “Model UN is usually held in a downtown DC hotel with 3,000 high school students and all the excitement that comes with having that many kids together, so we worried that the virtual setting wouldn't have the same feeling. It was different, but because our students were so engaged, it turned out to be a truly rewarding—and fun!—experience.

Three students won awards for their participation. Caroline Antonipillai ’22 won honorable mention for her representation of Sri Lanka in a committee on the treatment of gender and sexual minorities. “[The role] put me in a hard position, as I was advocating for policies completely separate from my own,” she said. “Annabel Williams ’22 and Alex Verbesey ’22 were also in my committee and did a great job!!”

Alissa Simon ’21 and Ari Benveniste ’21 each received a verbal commendation for their representation of the United State in the Commission on the Status of Women and Anne Cox Chambers from the Coca Cola Board of Directors, respectively. 

Congratulations to all the Model UN participants.