Who We Are

Coach instructing students

Students working together

Our Mission:

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.

Member Schools

Board of Directors

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 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 to bring his pedagogical knowledge in the areas of critical thinking to serve the students of the league.

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. Mr. Hughes is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College. In his free time he enjoys participating in outdoor activities and watching movies.

Halah Biviji

Secretary & 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.

Maya Kurkhill

Director of Volunteerism

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.

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."

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”.

Volunteer Staff

Madison Hamby

Tabulations Specialist

Madison has been a part of the OCDL since 2013, first as an enthusiastic debater, then a certified judge, and now as a tabulations administrator. Madison loves watching middle school students have the unique opportunity to channel their speech and debate abilities and grow with the league.

Channing Lee

Judge Trainer

Having launched her OCDL career in the 6th grade, Channing has been an active member of the league for the last few years as first a debater, then a judge, and now a member of the judging committee. Currently in high school, Channing has taught debate at various locations and coaches her own team of middle school debaters. She hopes to give back to the debate community, which she confidently believes comprises future leaders and world-changers.

Viren Abhyankar

Judge Trainer

Viren has been with the OCDL since he debated for the league in middle school for Fairmont North Tustin. Since he graduated from there in 2015, he has judged for the league consistently and will serve as a Judge Trainer starting fall of 2018. Viren is currently the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Captain at Northwood High School, where he will graduate from in June 2019.