Over the course of the past few weeks, I have had an ongoing conversation with OCDL alum Jack Thompson. We discussed how OCDL has impacted his life and what he has done since his last middle school debate through the league. 

Jack is currently a senior at San Juan Hills High School and started competing in OCDL through New England Academy when he was in 7th grade. He has been involved with the League ever since. In his 7th and 8th grade years, he placed in the top ten speakers many times and even in the top three speakers during his 8th grade year. After graduating from the middle school league, he decided to join OCDL’s high school league, at which he placed first place. He also helps coach middle school classes at his debate alma mater, New England Academy.

Jack’s passion for debate urged him to change the debate club at his high school. He took over the club and used the debate techniques he learned through OCDL such as the AREI format,  to help other aspiring debaters in the club. He still hosts regular debates and meetings through this club.

Outside of debate, he is involved in the Model United Nations program,  in which he has won many awards including the Best Delegate, which is the highest ranked award you can win in the program. He also started the Standardized Test prep club, which focuses on helping his peers prepare for the ACT and SAT exams. He also enjoys the outdoors and backpacking. He has backpacked in Mammoth, the lost coast trail, and the Sierra Mountain. He also is involved in the sport of Cross Country. 

Jack stresses the importance of debate in his high school career. He says that debate and the skill of public speaking has helped him tremendously in boosting his confidence, as well as in his college interviews, and writing essays for his applications. When asked one thing that he wants everyone to take away from this article, he replied, “I think the speaking skills, no matter what you do in life, will help you and how you present yourself in the future.”

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