- Pine-Richland High School
Team Earns World Title
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.
Seniors Miles Brown, Matthew Farmar, Tadg Manna, Andrew Ni, Amish Sethi, and Callie Stoltz make up the 2021-2022 Pine-Richland High School Team, under the direction of PRHS Teacher Jeff Byko.
“From writing their cases in the beginning to the eventual oral debates, they consistently worked not only to understand their topic - US dollar hegemony isn't on the top of most people's interest lists - but to master it. Their results showed they mastered it better than everyone else. I couldn't be happier for them."
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."
“After working 9 months together in a deep dive on the world economy, we are ecstatic to see our hard work pay off on the international stage,” said senior Amish Sethi. “While it certainly took a lot of work, the memories we have made along the way are unforgettable.”
As the new IPPF World Champion, the Pine-Richland team receives a $10,000 grand prize.
"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 cofounder of the IPPF. "Over the course of seven months, the students demonstrated superior written scholarship and oral advocacy skills in a rigorous test of their academic abilities. The results achieved here suggest the promise of bright futures.”
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 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.”
The competition began in October, as teams submit qualifying round essays on the IPPF topic. The Top 64 teams are invited to engage in a single-elimination, written debate tournament — volleying essays back and forth via email. The top eight teams earned an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF Finals in New York City.
This international contest is open to all schools - public and private - for free. Teams compete for awards and scholarships. The IPPF World Champion wins a $10,000 grand prize. A panel reviews the essays in the order they are presented and selects the advancing teams.