A week after I addressed the significance of debate to the young ones, I was delighted to read the recent news about the Filipino high school students who bagged the gold and bronze medals at The World School Debating Championship. According to the news, ANCX, for the first time in the history of high school debates around the world, a Filipino hit a gold. Hats off to Rubert “Toby” Leung, a grade 12 students from Philippine Science High School-Baguio Campus! He is the Overall Best Speaker title in the considered Olympics of High School Debates. Kudos also to the three other member of the Philippine high school debate team: David Bloom (4th Best Speaker), from the International School of Manila; Jake Peralta (6th Best Speaker), from Southeridge High School and Riva Fong (11th Best Speaker), from De La Salle Zobel for garnering Best Speaker Awards at the 2021 edition of World School Debating Championship.
The World Schools Debating Championship is an annual English-language debating tournament for high school-level teams representing different nations that started in August 1988 in Australia. In history, no Filipino has been awarded the Best Speaker of the tournament until this year. The Philippine team has conquered 76 countries all over the world. This is the second time that WSDC was held online through Zoom because of Pandemic. The Philippine team in WSDC 2021 are the following students: Rubert “Toby” Leung, Grade 12, Philippine Science High School-Baguio Campus; David Bloom, Grade 12 the International School of Manila, Jake Peralta, Grade 12, Southeridge High School; Riva Fong, Grade 12, De La Salle Zobel hs-Alabang Campus and Chanel Ang, Grade 12, Immaculate Conception Academy HS-Greenhills Campus.
In connection to this, why do we need to train our young ones to be a debater? According to Desmond Tutu, “Don’t raise your voice but improve your argument”. In debate, it will not just teach you to improve eloquently your arguments or viewpoints, but it will also teach you plentiful benefits such as improving confidence, poise and self-esteem; increasing written and oral communications skill, and critical thinking skills; help the students to be more socially aware and many more. According to Thomas Noonan’s dissertation (2009), debating will help your children achieve academically, develop self-efficacy and acquire civic empowerment. Hence, the impact of debate is vital since it provides skills personally, mentally, academically and socially like what Rubert Leung has gained.