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GLANCING THE GALLANT | Local Teen Creates Online Debate Tournament with Friends, Congress for COVID


It is a small world after all when everything goes virtual due to COVID-19. Not only are kids receiving their education through e-learning, but they are also expanding their horizons and taking cues from students across the country to command their passions.

Naperville resident, Joey Rubas, a Sophomore at Naperville Central High School, has been a member of the school’s Congressional Debate team since his Freshman year. The teams write legislation and then debate it with each other. To do this competitively, they study domestic and international issues and learn the pros/cons of the major issues facing society today. There are roughly 30 high school debate teams within an hour radius of Naperville, that typically compete along with 400-500 other kids in the Illinois Congressional Debate Association (ICDA).

Frustrated by the cancellation of most tournaments, Joey and his friends William Tong (Naperville Central), Jonathan Wu (Naperville Central), and Jihoon (Jimmy) Baek (Naperville North) were inspired by teens in Florida to re-create the platform to a virtual forum.

The boys developed an online tournament called Congress for COVID ( that will be held on May 30th and 31st with the objective of providing an accessible debate experience while also raising as much money for COVID-19 research and relief as possible (

Local sponsors, such as Chicago law firm, Golan Christie Taglia LLP have stepped up to support the event, and the Honorable Regina Scannicchio, a Cook County Circuit Court Judge has voluntarily offered to judge the final rounds. Additionally, Rubas is making the trophies and awards using his 3D printer!

With drive and passion, the boys are forging ahead to ensure its business as usual for Illinois State debate teams; and Naperville Central hopes to bring home another state championship. -Kristen Kucharski

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