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. The league is a member of the Middle School Public Debate Program [MSPDP].
“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. The league welcomes participation from all schools dedicated to student achievement in the fields of argument and critical thinking.
- Brookhurst Junior High – Autumn Browne
- Buena Park Junior High – Kathleen Terhune
- Cogito Debate – Kristina Reitveld
- Ensign Intermediate School – Joanna Stedman, John Browning
- Fairmont Private School: Anaheim Hills – Benjamin Hughes
- Fairmont Private School: Historic Anaheim – Karen O’Hanlon
- Fairmont Private School: North Tustin – Benjamin Hughes
- Fire Speech and Debate – Rebecca Starbeck
- Gordon H. Beatty Middle – Kathleen Terhune, Mike McDonald
- Heritage Oak Private Education – Carissa Burgos
- Institute of Knowledge – Thomas Alameddine
- New England Academy – Mark Hobbs
- Rowland Unified – Zach Miles
- The Pegasus School – Josh Thimmons
Board of Directors
Bora has been involved with the Orange County Debate League since 2013, when he was debating in the league. In 7th grade, he began volunteering as the Tournament Photographer, and, a few years later, Bora joined the board as President. Bora currently studies computer science at Texas A&M University, and he enjoys using his skills to develop technical solutions for the league. He hopes to promote academic and personal growth in local youth through debate by supporting the growth and development of the league.
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, Mr. Hobbs taught science (biology, geology, chemistry, and physics) at the middle and high school level. In addition to his work with the OCDL, he is also very active with the OC Science and Engineering Fair. 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 has been with the OCDL since its creation in 2009. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College and holds a clear California teaching credential in two subject areas. For most of his career, he taught middle school history and English, but today he is the director of speech and debate at Fairmont Private School. When he’s not coaching debate or volunteering with the OCDL, Ben enjoys hiking, snowboarding and watching movies.
Having launched her OCDL career in the 6th grade, Channing has been an active member of the league for the last 8 years as first a debater, then a judge, judge trainer, and Director of Judging. She now serves the League as Secretary. Currently a student at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Channing has taught debate at various locations and coached her own team of middle school debaters while in high school. She hopes to give back to the debate community, which she confidently believes comprises future leaders and world-changers.
Director of Tabulations
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.
Nadia Ansari started debate in fifth grade. She was the captain of the Fairmont North Tustin team for the 2017-2018 school year. In eighth grade, she won a golden gavel at the OCDL Championship Tournament. She has also competed in Public Forum debate, winning first place with her partner at Stanford International Public Forum Tournament in 2018. Nadia loves to train judges and she hopes to pass on her knowledge and help the next generation of debaters grow and learn. She currently attends Sage Hill High School.