Despite the odds of holding a successful debate tournament during the COVID-19 pandemic, Debate Without Borders (DWB), in partnership with the Interact Club of St. Francis Xavier, successfully conducted a five-month online debate competition featuring top Quezon City public schools.
As a prelude to the tournament, DWB conducted a Public Speaking, Debate and Argumentation workshop last October, which brought together close to 200 students from 21 Quezon City public schools.
Primary resource speaker for the workshop was Jazmin Jabines, former University of the Philippines (UP) debate stalwart and English Speaking Union International Public Speaking Competition top prize winner. Assisting her were debate circuit veterans and DWB cofounders Massi Sia and David Bloom, two-time cocaptain of the Philippine national high school debate team.
A month after the workshop, Sia and Bloom, with the help of Marcia Salvador of Rotary International District 3780, officially launched the first ever inter-public schools debate tournament, not just in Quezon City, but in the entire Philippines.
Dubbed as the DWB Inter-QC Schools Debate Cup, the tournament stretched over five months, comprising eight grueling practice and competition rounds.
Serving as adjudicators and mentors were some of the best college and high school debaters in the Philippine circuit: CJ Carlos and Sarah Gatmen from UP, Bea Cuizon and Aly Barranda from Ateneo de Manila University, Toby Leung of Philippine Science High School Baguio, Jake Peralta of Paref Southridge School, Dani Garcia of St. Paul College Pasig, Jay Postrado of Ateneo de Naga University, and Allen Uy and Shaun Tan from Xavier School Greenhills.
The grand finals were held on April 5, pitting the undefeated Holy Spirit National High School A and elimination round runner-up North Fairview High School A. It was judged by Nicolas Lozano, four-time Top 10 best speaker of Asia.
Holy Spirit National High School A, represented by Clark Jerald Parco, Precious Politico, Zaldy Razon, Zian Lucy Ternola and April Joy Bamba, emerged victorious. The team will vie in the National Asian High Schools Debate Championship.