About Us

Who We Are / About Us


The New England Academy (NEA) is a summer and after-school program based in the heart of Orange County. The company specializes in debate and public speaking with critical thinking for students at the middle school level (grades 5 to 8). The Academy is aptly named for its founders' backgrounds (they are from back east), and the fact that New England is the home of some of the greatest educational institutions in the world. Open to all students and families who want more out of their current education, the New England Academy is a good choice for students of all academic levels and backgrounds.


Why We are Different

While many institutions, both public and private, still focus on grade and point accolades, NEA attempts to foster a deeper knowledge and ability in its students. At NEA, we focus on helping students become better, stronger members of their community. The goal is to develop the "whole" student to be a capable and confident member of society.


Our Founders


Benjamin Hughes

Mr. Hughes has over a decade of experience teaching in the classroom, both here in the US and abroad, teaching history and English grammar. As a teacher, considered debate/public speaking to be an important subject. In 2009, Mr. Hughes founded the Orange County Debate League, one of the fastest growing and most successful debate leagues in the California today.

Mark Hobbs

Mr. Hobbs began teaching in 2000 after working in the medical field for nearly a decade. As an educator, Mr. Hobbs taught several subjects in science and single-handedly organized and taught the science fair for his school, which won numerous accolades, including most outstanding school at the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF) several years running. Mr. Hobbs has served on the OCSEF board for over 10 years. Mr. Hobbs became convinced that because debate teaches students the importance of evidence when constructing arguments, that debate is a powerful way to support scientific thinking.