Coaches Corner

David Song,  David Gobberdiel and Jeff Metz

Coach's Corner


Debate challenges students to succeed against a peer group unlike any other and takes students of all academic and intellectual backgrounds to new levels of critical thinking and intellectual rigor through competition. Debaters make friends from all over Chicago, the Midwest and the country and have a chance to test out their ideas and find a voice on serious issues such as poverty (this year's national topic). We emphasize intelligence, integrity and innovation and challenge our students to work together to think about and change the world they live in by becoming informed about politics, economics, social justice, philosophy, foreign affairs, law, literature, and the many other issues policy debate allows students to research and discover.

OPRF debaters have received full scholarships to the University of Chicago, University of Texas - Dallas, University of Kentucky, and Kansas City Kansas Community College and currently debate in college for Northwestern University, University of Missouri Kansas City, Stanford University, University of Kentucky, and KCKCC. Parents are often interested in what debate does for their child in terms of college admissions (embed link here: or future success in fields like law and business ( While it is true that many notable people got their start as debaters from politicians, scholars and celebrities ( to activists for those left behind in our society (, we find that those students who enjoy competing, have something to say, and demonstrate a spirit for arguing about ideas gain these benefits for their future as a product of their involvement in an activity they thrive in during their high school years rather than as merely the best thing they could put on their resume for the future.

The OPRF Debate Team has gotten off to another strong start in 2009-2010. The Varsity team of James Hanley and John Hazinski has qualified for the prestigious Tournament of Champions by the end of October and is currently ranked 10th in the country ( according to the points kept for the National Debate Association National Championships. Our other Varsity debaters (Maranna Yoder, Will Hardwicke, and Nathan Rothenbaum) have each had elimination-round quality performances against national competition.

We're especially excited about our great novice class this year, which has been among the top finishers at each of their first few competitions. At the recent Homewood-Flossmoor Viking Invitational, John Martin, Mac Barrett, and brothers Jack and Noah Cramer qualified for the elimination rounds. We have been represented successfully by beginning debaters Keenan Benshop, Ben Weiss, Morgan Murphy, Ben Levin, Brandon Steele, Dylan Piazza, Briana Savage, Ju'lisiah Toney, Ashley Porter, and Alex Waheed, among others.

This weekend is the Glenbrooks tournament, one of the top national tournaments and the largest in the country. We've been fortunate to win this tournament the last two years in Novice and JV and hope this string of success continues.

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