top of page

Notre Dame High School Students Crowned Champion of International Public Policy Forum Debate Contest

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

April 28, 2019 – New York – A team of students from Notre Dame High School of Sherman Oaks, California, bested a field of high schools from around the globe Saturday, winning the 18th Annual Brewer Foundation/New York University International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) debate competition and a $10,000 grand prize. The final debate was held at The Harold Pratt House in New York City.

The teams that competed at the IPPF Finals on Saturday, April 27, were the final “Elite Eight” teams to emerge from a field of 165 teams, representing high schools in 15 countries and 25 U.S. states. The teams debated the topic: “Resolved: U.S. abdication of international leadership creates dangerous global instability."

As the new IPPF World Champion, the Notre Dame team receives a $10,000 grand prize ($5,000 for the school’s debate program and $5,000 in individual scholarships). The team was coached by Christina Phillips, and the team members were Jack Daggenhurst, Simon Callaghan and Patricia Suico.

"These student debaters 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.”

In New York, Notre Dame advanced over Hunter College High School from New York in the quarterfinal round and Peak to Peak Charter School from Colorado in the semifinal round, before facing Jasper High School from Texas in the Finals.

Brewer added: “The students dedicated much of their school year to understanding one of the most significant and far-reaching public policy issues of our time: the role of the United States in global leadership.”

The runner-up team, Jasper High School of Plano, receives a $3,500 prize. Coached by Tom McCaffrey, the team members were Tejas Bansal, Shruti Kotha, Reeya Shah, Angela W. Wang and Lillian K. Ye.

The top eight teams competing in the IPPF Finals represented schools in six U.S. states and India. 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 proceedings were judged by a panel comprised of Maggie Berthiaume, Director of Debate at Woodward Academy; Dr. Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations; Dr. Ed Lee III, Senior Director of the Alben W. Barkley Forum for Debate Deliberation, and Dialogue; and NYU President Emeritus Dr. John Sexton.

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 2018-19 competition began in October 2018, as teams submitted qualifying round essays on the topic. Judges selected the “Round of 64” teams, who then participated in a single-elimination, written debate contest ― volleying essays back and forth via e-mail. From November to March, the field was narrowed from 64 teams to 32, then 16, and finally to the eight teams that competed in oral debates at the IPPF Finals in New York.

In New York, the Semifinalist teams - Alpharetta High School and Peak to Peak Charter School - each won $1,500. The Quarterfinalist teams each won $750.

The Quarter-finalists were Delhi Public School, Hunter College High School, New Hope Academy: Torrance and University School.

The “Elite 8” teams participating in the IPPF Finals:

Alpharetta High School from Alpharetta, Georgia

Delhi Public School R. K. Puram from New Delhi, India

Hunter College High School from New York, New York

Jasper High School from Plano, Texas

New Hope Academy: Torrance from Torrance, California

Notre Dame High School from Sherman Oaks, California

Peak to Peak Charter School from Lafayette, Colorado

University School from Chagrin Falls, Ohio

About the IPPF and the Brewer Foundation:

The IPPF was founded in 2001 by the Brewer Foundation and is now jointly administered with New York University. The program is available to all high schools around the world – public and private – for free. The IPPF is endorsed by leading forensic agencies, such as the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, the International Debate Education Association, the Impact Coalition, Associated Leaders of Urban Debate Leagues, and the National Debate Coaches Association.

The Brewer Foundation is a private, non-profit organization funded by companies, individuals and the national litigation firm of Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors. With offices in New York and Dallas, the Foundation has achieved widespread recognition for its efforts to create, fund and manage a variety of educational outreach programs.

Visit the IPPF at,, or on Twitter and Instagram at @IPPF1. The hashtag for the IPPF Finals will be #IPPFDebate.


For more information, contact Katherine Leal Unmuth, Brewer Foundation.

Office: 214-653-4832/Cell: 214-679-2408 /

357 views0 comments
bottom of page