Pine-Richland High School Students Crowned Champion of IPPF Debate Contest
April 30, 2022 – A team of students from Pine-Richland High School of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, bested a field of high schools from around the globe Saturday, winning the 21st 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 in the IPPF Finals on Saturday, April 30, were the final “Elite Eight” teams to emerge from a field of more than 120 teams. The teams debated the topic: “Resolved: On balance, the hegemony of the United States dollar is detrimental to the world economy."
As the new IPPF World Champion, the Pine-Richland 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 Jeff Byko, and the team members were Miles Brown, Callie Stoltz, Andrew Ni, Amish Sethi, Tadg Manna and Matthew Farmar.
"These student debaters impressed the judges with their strong advocacy skills – ultimately winning the title of IPPF World Champion," said William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and founder of the IPPF. "Over the course of seven months, these students demonstrated superior written scholarship and oral advocacy skills in a rigorous academic test. They give rise to the promise of future generations.”
Brewer added: “Congratulations to the team for excelling in a debate involving a complicated public policy issue: the role of the United States dollar in the world economy.”
In New York, Pine-Richland advanced over the Ministry of Education, Singapore, in the quarterfinal round and Amity Regional High School from Woodbridge, Connecticut, in the semifinal round, before facing Potomac Oak from Rockville, Maryland, in the finals.
The runner-up team, Potomac Oak, receives a $3,500 prize. Coached by Elisa Chen Sukhobok and Alex Jiang, the team members were Kaden Chien, Evelyn Shue, and Jonathan Wen.
The top eight teams competing in the IPPF Finals represented schools in five U.S. states, Canada and Singapore. The team from Singapore competed virtually – making this the IPPF’s first hybrid debate final.
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 Brewer, NYU President Emeritus John Sexton, NYU Stern School of Business Dean Raghu Sundaram, Above the Law Senior Editor Kathryn Rubino, and Miha Andric, an international debate coach and communication teacher based in Slovenia.
“This partnership between NYU and the Brewer Foundation celebrates a unique expression of debate – involving months of written scholarship, oral advocacy, and the chance to compete on a global stage,” Sexton said. “As a member of the IPPF judging panel, I have enormous confidence in these students – and the power they have to positively impact the world around them. They are destined for great things.”
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 2021-22 competition began in October, as teams submitted qualifying round essays on the IPPF 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 quarterfinalists were Bergen County Debate Club from Fort Lee, New Jersey; The Davidson Academy of Nevada from Reno, Nevada; Ministry of Education, Singapore; and North Allegheny Senior High School from Wexford, Pennsylvania. Quarterfinalists each win $750.
The semifinalist teams — Amity Regional High School from Woodbridge, Connecticut, and Extraordinary Education Centre from Toronto, ON, Canada — each win $1,500.