A Life of Debate

Committed debater, John Cho, discusses his love and dedication for speech and debate


Charchi Anderson

Senior John Cho (fourth from left) poses with his speech and debate team.

Serious yet relaxed like a natural, senior John Cho delivers his final compelling arguments. The other
team tries to string a rebuttal together, but is unable to come up with an argument as powerful as Cho’s.

Debate is a very important part of Cho’s life. Cho is an experienced debater who started participating in speech and debate in his elementary school years. In high school he decided to get involved with the Irvine Valley College (IVC) debate team.

“I joined the IVC debate team after my freshman year and have been competing ever since,” Cho said.

During his sophomore year, his team made it to the State Championships and Phi Rho Pi Nationals in Tampa, Florida. Cho earned two silver medals at Nationals and the team received a gold medal. The next year, when the team went to Nationals again, this time in Reno, Nev., Cho received a bronze medal. He
went on to earn two semi-finalist awards at Internationals Forensics Association (IFA) in Berlin.

“I loved every single moment I was in speech and debate,” Cho said. “However, [one of the] main memories that [is] special to me [is] the international tournament [in] Berlin, Germany. I never went to Germany so it was super exciting to not only compete outside the [United States], but also explore.”

Student at California State Long Beach and teammate of John Cho, Sarah Wilson competed with John Cho for 2 and a half years during which they have been to many tournaments together.

“He is a fantastic partner because he is always ready to listen to what I have to say and help me when I need it,” Wilson said. “He has always been a very supportive teammate who has helped me and mentored so many of our fellow teammates.”

Cho also worked closely with IVC student Ian Breyer. They debated together as partners during this spring semester.

“John’s passion for debate is amazing. He puts in an incredible amount of time researching and writing arguments for the entire team,” Breyer said. “He is known throughout the league not only as a debater but also as a friend. It has been a privilege to compete with John this past year.”

However, Cho’s debate career is not over yet though as he looks to continue debating in the future.

“I hope to continue speech and debate in college,” Cho said. “I have been talking to professors and admissions officers at Claremont Mckenna [College], where I will be going [to] college, for ways to expand the speech and debate program there.”