Xavier wins national high school debate championship

The Xavier Debate Team clinched their second title at the 11th Philippine Schools Debate Championship (PSDC), held at the Ateneo de Manila University from November 2-5.

Xavier A, composed of Donald Felbaum and Reynard Lao, won the Grand Finals as opening government and defended the motion, “This house believes that, ultimately, armed revolution is the solution to extreme class inequality.” A nine-man panel of college debaters awarded them the victory in a consensus decision.

Felbaum was also awarded Best Speaker of the Finals.

The tournament’s runners-up were Xavier B in closing government (Marc Matsubara and David Gozali), Ateneo de Manila High School C in opening opposition (Kiko Santos and Vitto Pavia), and Miriam College High School E in closing opposition (Alex Agcaoili and Amaris Pulido).

Many of the finalists were also named among the overall Top Ten Speakers, filling five of twelve slots.

1. Miguel Ventura, Ateneo High School 2. Vannessa Van, Immaculate Conception Academy 3. Jim Bulan, Ateneo High School 4. (tied) Donald Felbaum, Xavier High School 4. (tied) Katrina Chan, Immaculate Conception Academy 6. (tied) Raynard Lao, Xavier High School 6. (tied) Vitto Pavia, Ateneo High School 8. (tied) Kyle Mitschiener, PAREF Southridge 8. (tied) Cathy Cano, PAREF Woodrose 10. (tied) Martin Abis, Ateneo High School 10. (tied) Abigail Yu, Immaculate Conception Academy 10. (tied) Nikki Lucenario, Miriam College High School

In the individual public speaking competition, Kitkat Cuenca of PAREF Woodrose was named champion.

One hundred sixty teams competed in seven preliminary rounds before taking the top-32 teams to debate in a seeded, knockout-style format.

Teams who did qualify beyond the preliminary rounds and whose institutions have never been to the tournament’s Grand Final qualify for the Ana Alano Cup.

La Salle Greenhills A, composed of Andrew Escay and Patrick Kahn, won as closing opposition on the motion, “This house believes that in deciding the future of Mindanao, the government of the Republic of

the Philippines should only negotiate with democratically elected representatives of the Muslim people, rather than with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.”

GMA News Online was the official media partner of the event. In line with its “Think Before You Click” advocacy, multimedia manager Pia Faustino delivered a talk during the opening dinner on November 2, explaining the nature of social media and how online activism delivers tangible results in the real world.

This year, PSDC was attended by 320 high school students from 38 institutions nationwide, making it the biggest and most inclusive debate tournament in the Phillipines.

The tournament has been hosted by ADMU’s Ateneo Debate Society since 2002.

Only two other schools have won the tournament multiple times. Ateneo de Manila High School has four championships, while the Immaculate Conception Academy ties Xavier with two. –KG, GMA News

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