Bringing together top middle school debaters from across Southern California, the Orange County Debate League (OCDL) hosted the Southern California Regional Championship May 27.
The Regional Championship was the final of a series of debate tournaments held at Buena Park Junior High this season. Participating students represented eight Southern California debate leagues: Orange County, Los Angeles, Pacific Coast, Golden State, Rancho California, Golden West, Inland Valley, and Desert Valley.
Students competed in four to five rounds throughout the day, discussing contemporary topics such as publicly funded political campaigns and the Keystone XL pipeline. These topics were thoroughly researched and familiarized students with current issues.
“We did various practice debates and wrote speeches to prepare,” debater Mihret M. said. “The topics help me get a better perspective on things most eighth graders aren’t aware of.”
Supporting the debaters, coaches provided mentorship while volunteer judges gave individual feedback after each round. The tournament was entirely made possible by the efforts of volunteers.
“The entire OCDL is run by people who care about debate and care about the success and learning of the students,” volunteer administrator Maya Kurkhill said.
Out of 76 teams and 228 students, a team from Saint Mark's Episcopal School won the championship title. Pegasus was the top school, and David E. from Los Angeles’ Campbell took home the Golden Gavel, the award for the highest scoring speaker of the day. The Regional Championship was overall a tournament of engaging debates and strong performances.
“Bringing these leagues together creates new opportunities and new perspectives,” OCDL Vice President Bora Oztekin said.