AboutUs

THE COGITO PROMISE

OUR MISSION

Improve Students Communication Skills
Engage Students in Critical Thinking
Encourage Students to Consider Different Perspectives
Enable Students to Confidently Express Themselves
Connect Students Intellectually
Prepare Students for Personal and Educational Success

COGITO NEWS

Cogito Debate will be an exhibitor at the OC Summer Fair! Come by and check out our 8 week camp themes that will engage students in fun activities based around interesting topics, such as Theme Parks and Video Games. Students learn skills to speak and debate effectively.

03/14/2019

Cogito Debate will be an exhibitor at the IPSF OC STEAM Fest for a second year!  We will be bringing our DEBATE WHEEL again this year. A fun filled activity for future speakers & debaters. Prizes will be awarded!

03/14/2019

Cogito Skills Builder Classes are short form classes designed to expose students to special subjects in speech and debate. Classes are created to enhance students’ ability to communicate with an audience through their speaking skills and students will focus on specific in-depth subjects that are relevant to debate and structuring arguments. Workshops offered: Ted Talks,…

03/14/2019

Rainy weather did not prevent a great turnout on Saturday March 2nd for Cogito Debate’s first annual Speech Tournament for Tustin School District Schools! The student speakers represented Tustin Memorial Academy, Ladera Elementary, Myford Elementary and Peters Canyon Elementary and Cogito Irvine. Congratulations to: First Place Debater: Noor Malik. Second Place Debater: Ethan Howard. First…

03/14/2019

Our entire team at Cogito Debate is proud to announce that we have successfully achieved full accreditation as a Supplementary Education Program by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The accreditation team reviewed the vision, mission, learning outcomes of our standards-based education program and concluded that we meet their criteria of a quality…

03/14/2019

Cogito Debate is offering workshops for Girl Scout Cadettes to earn badges. Public Speaking Badge Workshop covers all of the steps for the badge by providing fun learning activities that helps girls find their significant voices and learn effective delivery skills. Common Ground Badge Workshop teaches Cadettes debate and mediation skills. Argumentation techniques will be…

03/14/2019

Congratulations to Cogito Debate Elite Squad Members Winning BIG at the tournament: 3rd Place Team Award-Novice Parliamentary Debate-Samuel Wang-Fiona Sun 2nd Place Speaker Award-Novice Parliament Debate-Fiona Sun Cogito Debate Elite Squad hit the road in February to participate in the Cal Lutheran Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament in Thousand Oaks. The squad members who attended…

03/14/2019

Cogito is excited to announce the creation of two new high school classes – Parliamentary Debate & Lincoln-Douglas Debate!

01/30/2019

OUR EDUCATORS

OUR COACHES

Our coaches are experienced, passionate and skilled in elevating the communication skills of students through speech and debate.

JENDA TURNER, M.Ed.

Ms. Turner is the Executive Director of Cogito Debate as well as a Coach. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from Whittier College and a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from California Baptist University. In her free time, Ms. Turner enjoys mentoring students and is an avid reader. Her favorite quote is “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” by Albert Einstein.

KRISTINA V. RIETVELD

Mrs. Rietveld holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies with a Minor in Public Relations from Cal State University Long Beach and a DRPA Mediation Certification. Mrs. Rietveld started competing in speech and debate at the college level when she was 16 and fell in love with it immediately. She has won numerous awards competing at the state and national level in American Parliamentary Debate, British Parliamentary Debate, and International Public Debate (IPDA) as well as in Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking and Informative Speaking. As one of the founding coaches of Cogito, she is excited to see the program grow!

TRISTEN TUCKER

Ms. Tucker attended Irvine Valley College and Humboldt State University where she competed in debate at the college level, and earned silver in parliamentary debate at the Phi Rho Pi (National) Tournament.

KASSEY CHO

Ms. Cho is attending University of California Santa Barbara and Hope International. She has an impressive background in language arts/communications, including earning a nationally ranked 99th percentile SAT essay and writing score, winning first place in the city of Tustin’s 14th Annual Student Essay Contest, and receiving the AP Scholar Award in English Literature and Composition. Ms. Cho’s expertise is in Oral Interpretation, Platform Speaking, Speech Composition, Impromptu Speaking, and Communications/English Language Arts.

CARLOS PELAYO

Mr. Pelayo is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies at Cal State University Fullerton and holds extensive experience in both competing in collegiate speech &debate as well as participating in nonprofits like Toastmasters International, where he holds the position of Club President. Mr. Pelayo specializes in NPDA Parliamentary Debate & Limited Preparation Events that include Extemporaneous and Impromptu Speaking, earning awards for all of these at the state level (2019 CCCFA State Championships). Mr. Pelayo has additionally competed in International Public Debate (IPDA), Persuasive Speaking, Informative Speaking, & Speech-To-Entertain.

MIRANDA SMARTWOOD

Ms. Smartwood is currently attending University of California San Diego. She has a broad range of experience in competitive debate and public speaking as well as in coaching the youth. Ms. Smartwood’s expertise is in parliamentary and policy debate as well as in extemporaneous speech, expository speech, and humorous interpretation.

ANNA SHCHERBAK-SCOBY

Ms. Shcherbak-Scoby holds a business management degree from the Ukraine, and is a distinguished member of Toastmasters International (since 2008), the recipient of several Best Speaker and Best Evaluator Awards, and a Certified Corporate Trainer. Ms. Shcherbak-Scoby considers herself a creative person with a love for nature.

DEV MADEKA

Mr. Madeka holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from University of California Irvine and has a wide range of experience in teaching Public Speaking and Debate to the youth as well as having coached for Mock Trial for a year. He has won awards in Policy Debate, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Impromptu Speaking. Mr. Madeka additionally specializes in Parliamentary Debate and in Public Forum Debate.

FORREST FULGENZI

Mr. Fulgenzi holds Bachelor Degrees in both Neuroscience and Economics from Pitzer College and has over eight years of coaching and direct debate experience, having won awards competing at both local and national levels of debate. He specializes in Policy Debate and in Lincoln Douglas Debate and has a passion for research and education. Mr. Fulgenzi enjoys working with students and teaching them the importance of research as well as debate theory and strategy.

JULIANA EGGERT

Ms. Eggert is currently attending Irvine Valley College and Folsom Lake Collegeand is awaiting transfer to a University to complete her Bachelor’s Degreein Nursing. In addition to her years of dedication in working with the youth, she has a notable background in public speaking: Ms. Eggert has won awards as a finalist up to the county level in the 2016 and 2017 “Poetry Out Loud” Competitions and has presented at multiple Oral Interpretation festivals. Ms. Eggert’s expertise is in Oral Interpretation.

HOLLY L. DURRANT

Mrs. Durrant is currently attending Irvine Valley College and is on track to receive her Associate Degree. She has demonstrated her dedication to education through her experience in The Academic Decathlon as well as in her engagements with students as a college tutor. Mrs. Durrant’s expertise is in Public Speaking and Current Events. In her free time, she enjoys photography and studying American Sign Language.

ALEX BRITTAIN

Mr. Brittain has a background in high school, community and college theater, with roles both on and off the stage. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on his Master of Arts degree in English literature. Since 2011, he has utilized his background in theater as a public speaker for various religious organizations. One of his lectures, “More Than a Conqueror: The Alex Brittain Story” was published by Saint Joseph Communications in 2012.

CLASS IN ACTION

BUILDING CONFIDENCE THROUGH SPEECH AND DEBATE

Self-confidence can be taught! At Cogito Debate we believe that by practicing the skills of speech and Debate students become more proficient which leads to self-confidence.

BE PART OF THE FAMILY

BECOME A COACH

Cogito Debate is hiring debate coaches throughout California to join our professional coaching team! This is an excellent opportunity for individuals with relevant experience and a passion to set students on the path to becoming meaningful contributors to their communities through speech and debate.

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