About Us

Who We Are

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].

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.

Our Team

Bora Oztekin

President

Bora has been involved with the Orange County Debate League since 2013, when he was debating in the league. In 7th grade, he volunteered at the tournaments by taking pictures. At the end of eighth grade, he joined the administrative team to implement Tabroom and redesign the website. In 2016, he became Vice President with aspirations to improve the tournament workflow. In Fall 2017, Bora was elected President. He hopes to promote academic and personal growth in local youth through the sport of debate by supporting the growth and development of the league.

Mark Hobbs

President

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

Maya Kurkhill

Vice President

Being an avid debater since her middle school years in OCDL, Maya hopes to ensure the greatest learning experiences possible for students. She was the Volunteer Administrator in 2017, and loved cultivating an involved community of people dedicated to creating more opportunities for debaters. She enjoys lively discussions about rising social movements, the latest films out in LA, and the obscure creatures of the deep sea. Some of Maya’s greatest hopes are that young people are given the tools to challenge commonly accepted thought and argue brilliantly for their beliefs.

Benjamin Hughes

Treasurer

Ben founded the Orange County Debate League in 2009 to create opportunities for every student in Orange County to enrich themselves in argumentation, speaking, and critical thinking.

Nicole Enssle

Director of Public Relations

Nicole has been involved with the OCDL since 2015. She has a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and German, and enjoys languages, painting, and hiking. She has taught debate for two years, and is always finding new ways to apply debate concepts to situations in her life. Her favorite debate topic to date is "There should be no space exploration without proving that it will not harm extraterrestrial microbial life."

Halah Biviji

Director of Tabulations

Halah, after debating in the Orange County Debate League in middle school, came back to serve as the Tabulations Admin in 2015.

David Anderson

Director of Judging

David has been with the league since its inception in 2009. As Head Judge, David is primarily responsible for the training and certifying of our judges and is the author of our Judge Guide. David first became involved as a volunteer parent judge when his step-daughter, a two-time golden gavel winner, was a student of Mr. Benjamin Hughes. David is a licensed California Realtor, but has also spent 25+ years as a corporate sales leader in the IT industry . David believes that success in business relies heavily on one's ability to negotiate and communicate effectively; a critical skill that can be learned through the “Art of Debate”.

Thao-Ann Nguyen

Director of Judging

Thao-Ann is the Director of Judging at the Orange County Debate League, and is responsible for maintaining the league’s high-quality and consistent judge program. Thao-Ann has been with the Orange County Debate League since 2010 as a judge and has continued her participation with the league for the last seven years. Thao-Ann recently graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Sociology. Her favorite debate topic is “People should not wear fur.”

Charles Hughes

Director of the Board

Charles serves on the Board to ensure the operational integrity of the organization, as well as its legal accountability.

Madison Hamby

Tabulations Specialist

Madison is a member of the tabulations committee. She ensures that ballots are entered correctly and in a timely manner.