The Bellaire High School debate team is taking on the world. After five months of competition, the team has advanced to the “Elite 8” round of an international debate contest – the Bickel & Brewer / New York University National Public Policy Forum. By advancing to this round, the school’s debate team remains eligible to win a $10,000 first-place prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to the finals competition in New York City.
“This year marks the first time this contest has included schools outside the United States,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Bickel & Brewer and founder of the NPPF. “It is exciting to see Bellaire and others establish themselves on a global stage. Their results thus far are testament to their research, written scholarship and advocacy skills.”
The NPPF is the only contest that gives high school students the opportunity to participate in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. The 2008 – 09 competition began in October when more than 100 high schools – representing 14 foreign countries and 32 states – submitted essays on the topic, “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase alternative energy incentives in the United States.” The competition annually involves more than 700 students.
Bellaire has now advanced through two rounds of this competition, besting Trinity High School from Washington, Pennsylvania, in the “Top 32” round, before defeating The Durham Academy from Durham, North Carolina, in the “Sweet 16.” In each of these rounds, the school has volleyed written cases back and forth, arguing in the affirmative or negative on the public policy topic. Judges reviewed the papers in the order they were received and voted for the winning school from each individual competition. This format continues in the “Elite 8” round, where Bellaire challenges The Bronx High School of Science from Bronx, New York.
The final four teams will be announced March 18. Those schools will participate in the debate finals April 17-19, on the New York University campus. After completing written and oral arguments, finalists will be honored during a special banquet and awards ceremony. The Bickel & Brewer Foundation awards the winning team a $10,000 grand prize and the “Bickel & Brewer Cup.”