ACEs Debate Club

Think fast, speak well.

Join our debate program for students in grades 5-8 who are interested in learning public speaking and argumentation through fun and interactive discussions, recorded videos, and group work.

Why debate?

Speak. Argue. Respond. Question. Have fun! Public speaking is the #1 fear in America but if students tackle it early, they’ll be experts in vital skills that will set them apart from their peers.

Learn critical skills

Debate enables students to learn critical thinking, teamwork, communication, organization, and advocacy. These skills help students effectuate change within themselves and their communities.

Understand context and problem-solve

Debating both sides helps students understand the context and controversies of an issue and how to best present their opinions. Debate creates fun problem-solving challenges for students to practice weighing the advantages and disadvantages to find the best solution.

Build confidence

Answering questions on the spot will instill confidence in students when they are participating in the classroom or workplace. Coming up with responses to opposing arguments teaches students how to anticipate and plan accordingly.

Meet our coaches

Aaron Vinson

Founder and head coach

Aaron has coached and taught high school debate for more than a decade as a head speech and debate coach. His teams have won state championships, national invitationals, and college scholarships, and are frequently ranked in the top 25 of the National Debate Coaches Association’s poll.

Azja Butler ACE Debate Coach

Azja Butler


Azja is a debater at the University of Kansas and an assistant high school debate coach. Azja was the national CEDA runner up in 2019, is a two time qualifier for the National Debate Tournament, and won three tournaments including Harvard, Texas, and Berkeley.

Ashton Smith


Ashton has a background in public policy and law from University of Michigan, and deep skills in public speaking. He coaches high school debate, has taught summer debate programs, and has represented teams at the Tournament of Champions. He was a competitive collegiate debater, ultimately earning the American Debate Association’s ‘Varsity Debater of the Year’ Award in 2020.

Meredith Falk


Meredith teaches 8th grade Spanish, coaches high school debate, and judges debate tournaments. Her background is in education and spanish from Northwestern, and taught university students in Mexico. As a student, she competed in local, state and national tournaments in Congressional Debate and progressed in Nationals.

Theo Noparstak


Theo is a policy debate coach at Northwestern University. He graduated from the University of Kentucky where he set a school record for the second-most wins at the National Debate Tournament. He started his debate career at Niles West high school in Skokie, Illinois where he helped start their policy debate program.

What people say about ACES

“Don't raise your voice, improve your argument."