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PSHS Debate Team Champions of International Public Policy Forum

April 4, 2016 (Updated)

World champion debate team? No arguments here!

A team of Plano Senior High School students bested a field of high school teams from around the globe on Saturday, April 2, winning the 15th Annual International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) debate competition and a $10,000 grand prize ($5,000 for the school’s debate program and $5,000 in individual scholarships).

champs

Coached by Cheryl Potts, the Plano Senior High team members are Varsha Appaji, Shivan Chokshi, Lena Khanolkar, Madhav Mehta, David Morales Lam, Rohan Trivedi, Jingke Yang, and Annie Zhao. They are pictured with sponsor William A. Brewer, III.

The event is sponsored by the Brewer Foundation and New York University.

The top "Elite 8" high schools competed at the finals after emerging from a field that began with hundreds of teams. The teams debated the IPPF topic: “Resolved: Genetically modified organisms are essential to global food security.”

"These students put in months of hard work to achieve the title of IPPF World Champion," said William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and founder of the IPPF. "They impressed the judges with their superior research, writing and advocacy skills.” 

The runner-up team, East Ridge High School of Woodbury, Minnesota, received a $3,500 prize.

The final debate was held at The Harold Pratt House in New York. It was judged by a panel that included Mr. Brewer, New York University President Emeritus John Sexton, and Jon Paul Lupo, New York City Director of the Office of City Legislative Affairs for the Mayor’s Office.  

Founded in 2001, the IPPF is the only competition that gives high school students from around the globe the opportunity – for free – to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy.  

The 2015-16 competition began in October, as teams representing 28 U.S. states and 29 countries – submitted qualifying round essays on the IPPF topic. 

Judges selected the “Top 64” teams, who then participated in a single-elimination, written debate contest by volleying papers back and forth via e-mail. From October to March, the field was narrowed from 64 teams to 32 teams, then 16, and finally to eight.

In New York, Plano Senior High School advanced over Hamilton High School from Arizona in the quarterfinal round and St. Paul Academy and Summit School from Minnesota in the semifinal round, before facing East Ridge High School in the finals. 

“Elite 8” teams participating in the IPPF Finals

Bellaire High School, Bellaire, Texas
Bob Jones High School, Madison, Alabama
East Mountain High School, Sandia Park, New Mexico
East Ridge High School, Woodbury, Minnesota
Hamilton High School, Chandler, Arizona
Plano Senior High School, Plano, Texas
St. Paul Academy and Summit School, St. Paul, Minnesota
Union High School, Camas, Washington

Final debate rounds will be posted on the IPPF website.


March 24, 2016

Plano Senior High School's debate team has advanced to the "Elite 8" to compete at the Brewer Foundation/NYU International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) competition April 1 and 2 at New York University in New York City. The team advanced from the "Top 64" to the "Sweet 16" and now to the "Elite 8" and remain eligible to win a $10,000 grand prize.

teammates

Annie Zhao, Shivan Chokshi, Varsha Appaji, Rohan Trivedi, David Morales, Angela Yang, Madhav Mehta and Lena Khanolkar

The top eight teams win all-expenses-paid trips to New York City to compete during IPPF Finals Weekend. During the finals, teams supplement their written advocacy with oral argumentation. Judges for the oral rounds have included NYU President John Sexton, Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors Partner William A. Brewer III, Ret. General Wesley Clark, National Forensic League Executive Director Scott Wunn, and New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson. Ultimately, the IPPF Champion wins a $10,000 grand prize and the Brewer Cup.

The competition is the first and only of its kind that gives high school students the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. Founded in 2001 as a national program, the contest has now expanded to involve hundreds of schools from all corners of the globe.

Related Link


February 19, 2016 (update)

Students Competing for Trip to Finals in NYC

A debate team from Plano Senior High School has advanced to the “Sweet 16” in the 15th annual International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) - the only contest that gives high school students around the world the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy.

If Plano advances this round, the team will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF Finals in New York City on April 2, 2016. Congratulations to advancing teammates.

Plano Senior High School Team

Annie Zhao, Lena Khanolkar, Rohan Trivedi, Shivan Chokshi, Madhav Mehta, David Morales, Angela Yang, Varsha Appaji

The Plano Senior High School team is one of only two teams from Texas to advance this round. By advancing, the students remain eligible to win a $10,000 grand prize.

“These students have demonstrated a command of a very complex and timely topic,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and a founder of the IPPF. “They have emerged from one of the most competitive fields we’ve ever had – and will now compete for a chance to win a trip to New York City for the IPPF Finals.”

This year, teams submitted qualifying round essays affirming or negating the IPPF topic, “Resolved: Genetically modified organisms are essential to global food security.” Those essays were reviewed by a committee, which determined the top 64 teams based on the overall quality of each 2,800-word essay.

In November, the top 64 teams began a single-elimination, written debate competition. Each team was assigned a position (affirmative or negative) and then volleyed papers back and forth with another team via email for the next six weeks. A panel of judges reviewed the essays and selected the winning teams.

In the “Round of 64,” Plano Senior High School advanced over Trinity Preparatory School from Winter Park, Florida. In the “Top 32” round, Plano advanced over Carmel High School from Carmel, Indiana.

The “Sweet 16” round is now underway. Plano Senior High School is competing against La Cañada High School from La Cañada, California. The top 16 teams represent schools from 13 U.S. states and China.

On February 29, the “Elite 8” teams will be announced. Those teams will travel to New York City on an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF Finals in New York City. The Finals will take place on April 2 at the Harold Pratt House.

The IPPF Finals give students the opportunity to participate in oral debates in front of some of the world’s foremost experts in debate, business, law and politics. The winning team will take home the “Brewer Cup” and a $10,000 grand prize.


December 4, 2015

The Brewer Foundation and New York University announced in November that Plano Senior High School and Plano West Senior High School teams advanced to the “Top 64” for the 15th annual International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) - the only contest that gives high school students around the world the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. The IPPF noted that this year’s competition had one of the largest and most competitive opening rounds in the history of the IPPF, with participation from schools in more than 30 countries.

Congratulations to advancing teammates from Plano ISD.

Plano Senior High School

Annie Zhao, Lena Khanolkar, Rohan Trivedi, Shivan Chokshi, Madhav Mehta, David Morales, Angela Yang, Varsha Appaji

Plano West Senior High School

Jay Anand, Caroline Hao, Usmaan Hasan, Emily. Hua, Peter Huang, Shishir Jessu, Neil Patel, and Aaron Raj

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