Jon Thorpe is, quite simply, the most successful high school parliamentary debate coach in the United States. He founded the Bishop O'Dowd High School debate program in 2007 and since 2009 O'Dowd's parliamentary debaters have dominated the format at both expert and lay tournaments. O'Dowd's unrivalled track record includes victories at the Santa Clara University Invitational (2009 and 2011), Pepperdine University Invitational (2011), University of Oregon Invitational (2012), MLK Invitational (2013), Yale University Invitational (2013), Stanford University Invitational (2014), and the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions (2010, 2013, and 2014). Mr. Thorpe's debaters finished as finalists at the Pepperdine University Invitational (2010), Bishop O'Dowd High School Invitational (2011), University of the Pacific Invitational (2012), Santa Clara University Spring Invitational (2013), Yale University Invitational (2011 and 2013), National Parliamentary Debate Invitational (2012 and 2013), the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions (2013), and the Windsor High School Invitational (2014); as semifinalists at the Santa Clara University Invitational (2010), MLK Invitational (2011), Santa Clara University Spring Invitational (2011 and 2013), Stanford University Invitational (2012), Willamette University Invitational (2012), National Parliamentary Debate Invitational (2012 and 2013), University of Oregon Invitational (2012 and 2013), University of the Pacific Invitational (2013), and the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions (2012, 2013 and 2014); and as quarterfinalists at the Stanford University Invitational (2010, 2013, and 2014), Yale University Invitational (2011), University of the Pacific Invitational (2011 and 2013), Santa Clara University Spring Invitational  (2012), Willamette University Invitational (2012), the MLK Invitational (2012, 2013, and 2014), University of Oregon Invitational (2012 and 2013), Santa Clara University Invitational (2012 and 2013), National Parliamentary Debate Invitational (2013), and the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions (2014). In regional action, O'Dowd won the California state title in 2010 and finished as state quarterfinalists in 2012. O'Dowd debaters finished #1 in the POI rankings in 2010 (Appeldorn & Drew), 2013 (Walsh & Zepeda), and 2014 (Walsh & Zepeda). The O'Dowd debate program finished #2 in the POI Club Rankings in 2010 and at the top of the club rankings in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. At O'Dowd, the system Mr. Thorpe has put in place is the key. Other programs rise and fall, but O'Dowd's always there, always competing, always part of the conversation, always a threat, always relevant. It's this success at O'Dowd that Mr. Thorpe hopes to export to the community. Parli should be better.

 

Mr. Thorpe served as the parliamentary debate program director at the Stanford National Forensic Institute in 2011 and 2012. In 2013 Mr. Thorpe left SNFI to create a parliamentary debate program that would adhere to the philosophy espoused by POI and make high school parliamentary debate better for all involved. The POI Debate Institute, now based at UC Berkeley, just completed its second successful summer of offering best-in-class high school parliamentary debate instruction.