A BAGUIO boy has bagged the highest prize in what is considered the highest level of high school debates worldwide for the first time in history.
Grade 12 student Robert “Tobi” Leung from the Philippine Science High School Baguio Campus managed to win the Overall Best Speaker title in the World Schools Debate Championship (WSDC), widely considered the “Olympics of high school debate,” after eight rounds of debate, besting 372 other competitors in the event overall.
No other Filipino in history has received the Best Speaker award since the annual WSDC’s inception in 1988.
Three other Filipino students received awards in the competition – David Bloom from the International School of Manila was awarded fourth Best Speaker, Jake Peralta from Southridge High School received sixth Best Speaker, and Riva Fong from De La Salle Zobel received the 11th Best Speaker award.
Overall, the Philippine team bagged the “bronze medal” by reaching the semifinals, a feat that the country has only achieved once before in 2012.
The team had six wins and two losses in the preliminary rounds, ranking third in the knockout rounds before experiencing defeat at the hands of the Hong Kong team on a motion debating the merits of individual carbon credits.
The Philippine team debated topics such as the commercialization of space, the right of Olympic athletes to protest, reducing income tax rates for women, and the Westernization of elites in post-colonial countries.