Over two hundred and fifty students and their families took over Buena Park Junior High for the Orange County Debate League Championship Tournament this past Saturday, May 5th. Despite the hot weather, debaters stayed on their toes while awaiting the topic and pairing announcements for each round. The 2017-2018 debate year concluded with four rounds of argumentation and refutation, along with a final public round against the two top placing teams.
One of the highlights of the event was the final public round between top teams Pegasus DOS and Fairmont North Tustin GAT. The two teams debated whether a nuclear attack on North Korea should be “off the table”. The heated debate included arguments related to the potential loss of human lives, the utilization of alternative sanctions, and the use of a nuclear attack solely as a retaliation option for the United States. After hearing both Proposition and Opposition sides present their cases, the judging panel decided in favor of the Opposition Fairmont North Tustin team in a 2-1 vote.
The day concluded with the long-awaited awards ceremony, in which individual speakers, teams, and schools were recognized for their performance that day. Nadia A. and Ryan G. of the Fairmont North Tustin GAT team were respectively awarded the tournament Golden Gavel and the Speaker of the Year Award. New England Academy took home the School Award for overall school performance at the tournament, while Pegasus Senior gained the School Award for percentage of wins throughout the day.
As the school year comes to an end, many students will participate in summer debate programs to further their skill set in the off season, while eighth graders prepare to continue supporting the OCDL as judges and volunteers. The 2017-2018 season marked another year of personal and academic growth for students, coaches, families, and judges alike.
OCDL President Mark Hobbs ended the tournament with the announcement that as the league continues to expand, the OCDL board is taking steps to acquire a larger venue for tournaments, and is also considering establishing a high school league. Regardless, the 2018-2019 season will surely be one of new experiences - both for debaters, and for the league as a whole.