All Debate Meeting:

Getting Ready for Next Year!

Wednesday, May 13

6pm-7pm & 7pm-8pm


6:00 to 7:00 is for new debaters and new debater parents.  Meet the coaches and find out what next year holds for the debate team; learn about the structure of the team, tournaments, team meetings, and how parents can help through our Debate Booster Club.  We encourage all new debaters and their parents to stay for the 2nd half of the meeting to meet our continuing debaters and their parents.

7:00 to 8:00 for returning debaters and returning debate parents. This part of the meeting is an official Booster Meeting and we will vote in new officers for the 2015-16 school year, take stock of our efforts for this year and report on our finances (hint: they are in good shape!)  Stephen Goldberg and Judith Hill-Weld will fill us in on what next year holds for the debate team and we’ll talk about what fundraising efforts the boosters have on the calendar for next year.  And we’ll fill you in on the end of the year debate party at the Fenners!

 Miner Disputes: Civil Discourse on Current Issues

Please join the Nevada Union High School Debate Team for our 4th annual fundraiser, Miner Disputes, serious topics with spirited students who reassure us that the future is in good hands.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015   7pm-9pm

Summer Thyme’s

Grass Valley

Tickets $20.00

To purchase in advance, or to make a direct donation, please use the PayPal Donate button and note “Miner Disputes” , or, “Donation”, in the Instructions to Seller

We will present two student debates on current controversial topics, feed you delicious appetizers, offer tempting items in a silent auction, and give you a video glimpse of this highly rigorous style of competitive debate at an official tournament.

Why do we need your support? Debate offers NU students the opportunity to immerse themselves in rigorous academics, college-level research, public speaking, and incisive analytical skills.  Debate offers a path to academic success, but, Nevada Union High School does not have the funds to sustain the financial requirements of this program.  Nevada Union Debate Boosters Club raises funds to meet those requirements!

If you can’t make it to Miner Disputes, perhaps you will consider donating to our Booster club to help cover the costs of attending tournaments. 




Where: Nevada Union High School Debate Room: J 106

Lunch provided

Led by coach Stephen Goldberg and varsity debate team members.

Please RSVP to Janice Bedayn


Why a parent judge training?

Debate tournaments rely upon parents for 3 important reasons:

1)   Transporting students

2)   Chaperoning students

3)   Judging novice tournament rounds

There is an art and a skill to judging a debate round—learn about both at this judge training workshop.  Junior Varsity and Varsity rounds are judged by college debaters or debate coaches, but the novice rounds are judged by parents.  Learn how to “flow” and recognize if the affirmative or the negative wins the question at hand.  This is a great way to begin to understand debate jargon and experience what your child is learning.

Policy Debate 2014-2015

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth’s oceans.

Nevada Union’s Policy Debate Team, emboldened by 4 members that advanced to the final bracket in the Grand National Tournament of 2014, has hit the ground running. Several team members attended debate camps throughout the west this summer and the team is steeped in research and argument development of this year’s topic. The debate class is being taught by varsity team members Joe Fenner and Jesse Bedayn in Molly Starr’s classroom and Black Weekend is behind us.  NU Debate for the 2014-2015 school year is in full swing.

We bid a warm good-bye and thank you to last year’s coach, Gabe Olson, former NU debater and high school debate advocate, whose organizational skills and determination put many of our systems in order and infused the team with positive energy and a determination to succeed.  Gabe will continue to be both a supporter and sometime helper as NU Debate moves forward.  NU Debate was fortunate indeed to have Gabe at the helm through all of last year.

We welcome new assistant coach Judith Hill-Weld to our team.  Judith is mom of varsity debater Teddy Hill-Weld and an incredible supporter of our debate team.  While Judith is on the fast track of learning the skills of a debate coach, she is also making sure the tournament schedules are posted, parent forms are being submitted and tournament finances are clear.  We are indeed lucky to have one of the most organized people in Nevada County step in to this demanding position.

With gratitude we are so pleased and fortunate to have the continued guidance, talent, energy and skill of our head coach, Stephen Goldberg.  Stephen, a public interest attorney in Sacramento, has been coaching our debate team for 17 years and is an inspiration to everyone.  It is fair to say that were it not for Stephen, NU would not have a debate team.


NFL Finals Winners

Wednesday, April 30th, 7 – 9pm at 151 Union on Mill St. in Grass Valley. Support Nevada Union High School’s Academic Sport—Debate!

  $20 includes light appetizers.  Purchase tickets at the door, or use our paypal donation button and your name will be put on guest list.

Thank you to the Nevada County Bar Association and KVMR for their support!

Miner Disputes Spring 2014

On Sunday April 6th, Kris Colen and Teddy Hill-Weld will be representing Nevada Union in a mock debate for the public before the Sacramento Kings play the Dallas Mavericks. The event, starting at 1pm, is a fundraiser for the brand new Sacramento Urban Debate League, and should be a fun chance for the team to relax and have some fun as well as bring some Nevada County support to Kris and Teddy. To purchase tickets for this event visit with the promotion code: Debate.

2 Week $500 Fundraising Challenge.

Help our NU Debate Team earn $1,000 in the blink of an eye.

A generous donor has promised to match every dollar up to $500 that is donated to the Debate Team, now through Wednesday, February 19th. 

If 25 of us chipped in $20 each we’d make it!

Click the easy to use PayPal button to lend your support.  Thank you!

 The Union Newspaper, Grass Valley, CA

Caption: Nevada Union High School Debaters from left to right: Stephanie Ulatowski, Joe Fenner, Kris Colen, Colby Scanlon, and Teddy Hill-Weld.

Nevada Union High School Debaters from left to right: Stephanie Ulatowski, Joe Fenner, Kris Colen, Colby Scanlon, and Teddy Hill-Weld.


January 27, 2014

The Nevada Union High School Debate Team continues its record of success in the 2013/14 debate season. Two NU policy debate teams have just qualified for the NCFL Grand National Forensics Tournament, to be hosted in Chicago, Memorial Day weekend.

Six NU debaters competed at the NCFL qualifier tournament, hosted by McClatchy High School in Sacramento Jan. 25. The top four teams were invited to compete at the 2014 National Catholic Forensics League Grand National Tournament.

The NU team of senior Kris Colen and sophomore Joe Fenner earned second place at Saturday’s tournament.

“It is really rare that a rural public school like Nevada Union can go to tournaments like NCFL Nationals. It’s a great honor,” said Fenner.

Sophomores Teddy Hill-Weld and Colby Scanlon won third place. Both NU teams are now planning to attend the national competition in Chicago in May. Freshmen Mack Nelson and Stephanie Ulatowski were on track to place at the qualifier but were unable to compete in the final round due to illness.

“The depth of our team really came through today. Five of our six debaters here are freshmen or sophomores, and these type of results speak to the future of this program,” said NU’s volunteer debate coach, Gabe Olson.

The NU Debate Boosters Club needs to raise between $15,000 and $20,000 each year to send its more than 30 debate team members and their coaches to an average of 10-15 tournaments. This year, the NU debate team has already attended and won awards at 11 local and national competitions, including five in the Los Angeles area and one at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. Upcoming tournaments include Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley in February, several Bay Area competitions in March, and the NCFL Grand National Tournament in Chicago in May.

“Competitive debate is a very expensive activity,” said NU Debate Booster president Janice Bedayn. “That is why most teams are from private schools with more funding for coaching, travel, and other debate activities. NU is one of the few nationally ranked public school teams. Our team is supported by a very hard-working parent booster club and several community donors, including the Nevada County Bar Association and the Commonwealth Financial Network, but additional funds are needed for the team to continue compete on the national circuit.”

To learn more about NU Debate or to contribute to the continued success of the team, please visit

Press Contact

Janice Bedayn

Nevada Union High School Debate Boosters Club


The Union Newspaper Dec. 26, 2013

Teddy & Chris

Left to right, sophomore Teddy Hill-Weld, coach Stephen Goldberg, and senior Kris Colen.

Nevada Union’s policy debate team earned a bid to compete in the prestigious national Tournament of Champions by making it to the finals round at the La Costa Canyon Winter Classic.

Nevada Union’s last TOC bid occurred nine years ago; only 314 TOC bids will be awarded this season.

Few rural public high schools compete in policy debate on the national level.

Senior Kris Colen and sophomore Teddy Hill-Weld debated six times in preliminary rounds, earning a 4-2 record and progressing to eliminations.

They won three eliminations, earning a position in the final round where they lost to Polytechnic on a 2-1 decision.

“Kris Colen is an incredible debater who is willing to push me as hard as necessary but also be supportive enough so we can work well together as a team,” Hill-Weld said.

Colen also won first place as top speaker at the tournament, his second top speaker award this season. Colen and Hill-Weld need one more bid to qualify for the TOC, which they will attempt next at Gonzaga University’s tournament in early January.

Although a TOC bid may be a rarity for NU in the past decade, the 2013-14 debate team carries on their historically strong performance with other impressive successes.

Colen won top speaker in the varsity division at Long Beach’s Jack Howe Memorial in September, while freshman Leo Zlimen won the same award in the novice division. A few weeks ago at the Santa Clara University Dempsey-Cronin Memorial, the freshmen team of Stephanie Ulatowski and MacKenzie Nelson won the novice division, including a perfect 6-0 record in preliminary rounds.

Nelson claims an unorthodox strategy contributed to their success.

“We just said the phrase ‘Hakuna Matata’ before every debate, and we always got the win,” Nelson said.

Seniors Colen and Connor Hayes advanced to finals in the varsity division at Santa Clara, after being seeded second. Connor Hayes concluded the weekend by bringing home the trophy for top speaker.

One of the team’s long-term volunteer coaches, attorney Stephen E. Goldberg, says of the La Costa results, “This success is a tribute to the great work done by the team with very limited resources. With this to build on, NU debate has a very bright future.”

The Nevada Union Debate Team has earned many first place trophies and top tournament speaker awards over the years, but this year’s team is not only one of the largest in NU history, it is also off to one of the best starts of any NU Debate Team on record!

The team launched the tournament season at Yuba City High School on Sept 22, with a 4-0 win/loss record for senior Kris Colen and sophomore Teddy Hill-Weld, and a 3-1 record for sophomores Joe Fenner and Randy Svoboda. NU’s freshman debaters also did extremely well at their first tournament, competing in an open bracket that included both varsity and novice teams. In one of the day’s highlights, two of our freshman debaters, Lucy Meckler and Walker Subbotin, ended the tournament with a 2-2 record, beating a well-known varsity team as novices in their first league debate!

With just a week to rest, 18 NU debaters then headed down to Long Beach for the Jack Howe Memorial Tournament held at California State University. The Long Beach Invitational offers a very competitive policy debate tournament, attracting many nationally ranked teams. For the first time in Nevada Union history, an NU student won the Top Speaker Award at the tournament! Competing against 150 top national debaters, senior Kris Colen brought home the hardware with a first place trophy! “I couldn’t have done this without my debate partner Teddy,” Colen said. “It was an amazing experience, receiving the award was unreal. The first thought that went through my mind was that the 2nd speaker is arguably the best debater in the state and one of the best debaters in the nation, and it is humbling to think that I out-spoke him.”

To add to the riches, incoming freshman Leo Zlimen won the Top Speaker Award in the Novice Division! Nathan Potter and Colby Scanlon also ranked 3rd and 5th speakers respectively in the Novice Division. From a team perspective, freshmen Daniel Sonnenberg and Nathan Potter advanced to novice elimination rounds, making it to the quarterfinal round. In all, the NU Debate Team won 11 varsity rounds, and an additional 14 novice matches. “This is a very exciting way to start the year, and we are looking forward to continuing our great momentum into the rest of the season,” stated Gabe Olson, one of the Nevada Union debate coaches who graduated from NU in 2007. “It is great that we are able to engage students from a rural public high school in such a meaningful activity, and the fact that we are able to be highly competitive in the process is just an added plus. The debaters have prepared all summer for this tournament, and it is fantastic to see all of that hard work pay off.”

The team continues their season this month during invitational tournaments at Cal State Fullerton and the University of Pacific. Long Beach 2013