Students on the debate team at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks are riding high this week, after their recent win in New York City at the 18th Annual Brewer Foundation/New York University International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) debate competition. 

Competing within the “Elite Eight”, selected from a field of 165 high school teams from 15 countries and 25 U.S. states, the team was tasked with debating the topic: “Resolved: U.S. abdication of international leadership creates dangerous global instability.” 

As the new IPPF World Champions, Notre Dame’s team of Simon Callaghan, Jack Daggenhurst, and Patricia Suico, led by Christina Phillips, received a $10,000 grand prize — $5,000 earmarked for the school’s debate program, and $5,000 in individual scholarships. 

“These student debaters put in months of hard work to achieve the title of IPPF World Champion,” said William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors, and founder of the IPPF. “They impressed the judges with their superior research, writing and advocacy skills.”

Brewer added: “The students dedicated much of their school year to understanding one of the most significant and far-reaching public policy issues of our time: the role of the United States in global leadership.”

Founded in 2001, the IPPF is the only competition that gives high school students from around the globe the opportunity — for free — to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. 

The 2018-19 competition began in October 2018, as teams submitted qualifying round essays on the topic. Judges selected the “Round of 64” teams, who then participated in a single-elimination, written debate contest, volleying essays back and forth via email. From November to March, the field was narrowed from 64 teams to 32, then 16, and finally to the eight teams that competed in oral debates at the IPPF Finals in New York.

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