Faculty Details for
Villanova University, PA
CEO of Capitol Debate
Ron Bratt has given his life to developing debate skills in children because he has seen how it enhances their intellectual growth. He has been involved in creating high school debate and college debate programs to help students learn practical skills that will benefit and enrich their lives.
Ron Bratt has achieved outstanding success on the competitive debate circuit. He started the Catholic University Debate program in 1998. In its first year it advanced to the finals of the American Debate Association. By 2001, the program had 30 members and was ranked number one in the National Debate Tournament rankings.
Catholic University Debate, under Ron’s direction, achieved many other accolades. In 2001, the team won two national titles including the American Debate Association Varsity Championship and the Cross Examination Debate Association Novice National Championship. Two years later the program won two more national titles and proved that its teaching program was of the highest caliber.
Ron also started Capitol Debate, America’s leading high school debate institute at Catholic University. The Institute drew over 200 students, from nearly 30 states. Its success is evident from the numerous national debate champions that have graduated from its halls.
In the fall of 2002, Ron helped form the Urban Debate League in Washington, DC. As one of the founding directors of the League, Ron recruited students, established a solid infrastructure, and trained both students and teachers. Today, he is proud that the League remains strong and vibrant.
With these national successes under his belt, Ron expanded internationally. In 2003, he worked closely with the International Debate Educational Association to bring more than 50 European students to the United States to learn leadership and debate.
The following year, Ron Bratt brought over 30 students from seven countries, including Russia, China, Haiti, Argentina, and South Africa to train and compete at the National Forensics League’s National Tournament.
In 2006, Ron decided to make an even bigger impact by founding Capitol Debate, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to promoting debate across the country. The program’s first mission was Howard County and it started with one debater. Ron has grown this program to include over 100 students, drawn from the 13 high schools and 19 middle schools in the county. In 2009, in a testament to Ron’s training methods, the Howard County debaters won the Middle School National Championships. They won it again in 2010 and 2011. That same year, the Howard County debaters also won the Freshman National Debate Championships. They consistently place in the top three at major national debate competitions.
In 2012, Ron established Capitol Debate as an independent LLC. This allowed him to grow the company, pushing it beyond the borders of Maryland and Virginia, into California, China, and Taiwan.
In the same year, Ron opened a western office in southern California and another academic camp at the University of San Diego. Given his success in the east, he wanted to make the same academic achievements available to students on the west coast.
He also launched an Asian presence by training instructors in the Chinese city of Jintan and laying the groundwork for a debate institute in Shanghai. He and his team have coached at the Taipai Debate Academy in Taiwan.
Ron has been a commentator on national political debates. He was cited in the Washingtonian Magazine leading up to the 2012 presidential debates between incumbent Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Through all this, Ron has never left his core principles of using debate to promote academic and social advancement in children. He continues to work with students to enrich their abilities and to watch them grow into champion debaters through the programs he developed.
Chief Operations Officer
For over 15 years, Victor has utilized his passion by working with youth organizations. He has acquired corporate experience working for a Fortune 500 company. Victor has been involved with Capitol Debate since it’s inception.In 2015, he joined Capitol Debate full time as the Operations & Technology Manager. In 2016, Victor took over as the Chief Operations Officer.
Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and History at the University of Denver
Lauren has been debating for eight years and coaching for three. She was the top speaker at the North American Women’s Debating Championship in 2017 and has competed at the World Universities Debating Championships. Lauren has worked with the Denver Urban Debate League, taught debate electives for middle school students at the Ricks Center for Gifted Children in Denver, and spent two summers as a Speech and Debate teaching fellow with Generation Teach.
Political Science Major at Florida State University
Ryley Hartwig is finishing his first year at Florida State University, majoring in Political Science. When in high school, Ryley competed for American Heritage School for 3 years in Public Forum Debate, reaching outrounds at most national tournaments he attended his senior year, including the Crestian Tradition at Cypress Bay, Nova Titan, Glenbrooks, Stanford, and the Emory Barkley Forum. Ryley was also named top speaker at the Crestian Tradition and the Tournament of Champions International PF Division. Ryley also qualified to the NCFL Grand National Tournament his senior year. Additionally, Ryley served as the Student Director of Novice and Middle School Debate his senior year. During his time at FSU, Ryley has competed in Policy Debate, where he was named the Runner-Up at the Sunshine Showdown debates, championed the University of West Georgia tournament, reached Top 8 at the University of Miami Hurricane Debates as the highest seeded team, and received top 12 at Nationals. Ryley also received 2nd Speaker at the University of West Georgia tournament, and 10th Speaker at the Hurricane Debates. Ryley also championed the Florida FIFA State Tournament in Parliamentary debate, where he received 2nd Speaker. Ryley is excited to be a part of the Capitol experience at Babson College this summer as a Residential Advisor.