Bellaire Debaters defended their national championship in the Bickel & Brewer/NYU National Public Policy Forum contest by defeating Plano Senior High School April 18 on the campus of New York University. Andrew Garbarino, senior and team captain, Jacob Aronowitz, junior, Sharon Sun, junior, Wilma Qiu, junior, Matt Times, junior and Judy Sun, junior, under the direction of coach Russell Rach, sailed through the semi final round against Glenbrook North High School from Chicago, Illinois winning a 5-0 decision.
The other semi final round saw Plano Senior High School defeat Deer Park High School setting up the all Texas showdown in the final round. Plano upheld the affirmative of the topic questioning whether the United States should substantially increase alternative energy incentives. In previous rounds of the competition schools exchanged papers which were read by judges. The final round gave the two schools about three hours to prepare. All of the arguments were presented orally in front of the seven judge panel.
After opening statements by Plano Senior and Bellaire the two teams were allowed to question each others’ arguments. One of the things that makes the National Public Policy Forum unique from other forms of debate is the ability of the judges to question debaters from both sides as the debate is in progress. John Sexton, president of New York University, Scott Deatherage, executive director of the National Urban Debate League, J. Scott Wunn, executive director of the National Forensic League and Melissa Maxey Wade, National Debate Project and Emory University; provided questions. Rebuttals from each school brought the round to a conclusion.
For the second consecutive year, Bellaire won the final round to claim the Bickel & Brewer Cup, the national championship and a check for $10,000. William A. Brewer III, partner at the Bickel & Brewer law firm in Dallas, and founder of the NPPF, said 180 schools registered for the contest from around the country as well as 14 foreign countries.
“As a finals judge, I have seen Bellaire improve every year in its research capabilities and oral advocacy skills. These are amazing students who are always prepared,” said Brewer.