About Us

Founded in 2009, the Orange County Debate League (OCDL) is an independent, non-profit organization of debaters comprised of students and faculty from middle schools in and around the Orange County area. 

Mission Statement:

"To promote academic and personal growth in local youth through the sport of debate."

In the OCDL, students compete in regular tournaments throughout the school year where they are eligible to earn awards as individuals, as a team, and as a school. In addition, league administrators and coaches offer educational workshops and several learning opportunities throughout the year. We welcome participation from all schools dedicated to student achievement in the fields of argument and critical thinking. 

Connect with our Board


Mark Hobbs

Mark is originally from England. He moved to the United States in the late 70’s and eventually graduated from UCLA with a degree in biology. For nearly 20 years, he taught science (biology, geology, chemistry, and physics) at the middle and high school level. In addition to his work with the OCDL, he also served as president OC Science and Engineering Fair. Today, Mark owns and operates his own debate academy.

Mark joined the OCDL Board of Directors in 2016 with hopes of bringing his pedagogical knowledge in the areas of critical thinking to serve the students of the league.


Ben Hughes

Ben has been with the OCDL since its creation in 2009. He earned his bachelor degree at Claremont McKenna College, earned his Masters degree at San Diego State University and holds clear California teaching credentials in language arts and social studies as well as a preliminary administrative services credential.

When he’s not teaching speech and debate or volunteering with the OCDL, Ben enjoys spending time with his family and friends, hiking, snowboarding and watching movies.

Director of Tabulations

Matthew Ong

Matthew has been involved with the Orange County Debate League since debating for Fairmont North Tustin in the sixth grade.  He has been volunteering for the OCDL since freshman year of high school and after assisting with registration and tabulations for two years, he is currently the Director of Tabulations. Outside of the league, he has been debating for the Fairmont Preparatory Academy for four years and is actively involved with a number of programs dedicated to expanding access to debate for middle schoolers. He currently attends Pomona College.


Channing Lee

Channing has been an active member of the league since 2011, first as a debater, then a judge, judge trainer, Director of Judging, and now Secretary. Channing has taught debate at various locations and coached her own team of middle school debaters while in high school. She enjoys volunteering her time with the board to give back to the debate community. She graduated from Georgetown University with a BSFS in International Politics and currently works in Washington, DC.

Board Member

Anthony Schneider

Anthony grew up in the Palm Springs area and began participating in debate as a 7th grader in 2006. He has since always played an active role in the debate community. While attending college for business he volunteered at local debate events until founding a nonprofit debate program of his own called NextGen Debate. Anthony is known for his organizational agility, business acumen, and leading sub committees who develop and maintain valuable debate resources like the Golden Speaker Rubric.

Anthony joined the OCDL board to help bring the debate community closer together. In addition to debate, he is passionate about technology and discovering new ways to modernize the debate experience. 

Board Member

Josh Thimons

Josh is a Debate Teacher and Coach for Samueli Academy and Lincoln Green Debate Society.  He joined the OCDL Board in 2022.  He holds a bachelors degree in Economics and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  After a twenty year career in finance, he decided to become a teacher.  He earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California and holds California teaching credentials in mathematics.  He has coached debate for the last six years.

Josh is passionate about debate because of its ability to empower young students to find their voices to become leaders of tomorrow, capable of making the world a more equitable one.

Head Judge

Kamron Ansari

Kamran’s passion for debate began in fifth grade when he joined the Orange County Debate League. His dedication and hard work brought him to win four golden gavels. He joined the OCDL board to lead and improve judging initiatives while giving back to the community. Kamran remains dedicated to the cause through his beliefs in the transformative power of debate as he continues to advocate for the deeply rooted benefits of public speaking and critical thinking for young minds. 

In addition to his work for the OCDL, Kamran is the CEO and Co-Founder of FluxWear, a biomedical company committed to finding innovative solutions for people suffering from chronic pain. 

Member Schools

  • ACLA Debate
  • Brookhurst Middle 
  • Buena Park Middle 
  • Cogito Debate 
  • Community Roots Academy
  • Ensign Intermediate School 
  • Fairmont Anaheim Hills 
  • Fairmont Historic Anaheim
  • Fairmont North Tustin
  • Fairmont San Juan Capistrano
  • Fire and Speech Debate
  • Foothill Country Day School
  • Gordon H Beatty Middle 
  • Heritage Oak Private Education 
  • Institute of Knowledge 
  • Islamic Community Center of Claremont 
  • Lincoln Green Debate Society
  • MacAuliffe-Oak Joint Program
  • New England Academy
  • Pegasus School  
  • Rowland Unified 
  • Samueli Academy
  • St Pius Catholic School