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Students from Westfield Academy in West Hartford Advance in International Debate Competition

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Westfield Academy students are in the ‘Top 32’ in the global debate competition sponsored by the Brewer Foundation and New York University.



Students from Westfield Academy in West Hartford have advanced to the “Top 32” round of the International Public Policy Forum (IPPF).

Sponsored by the Brewer Foundation and New York University, the IPPF is the first and only debate competition that gives high school students around the world the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. 

By advancing, the students remain eligible to win a $10,000 grand prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF Finals in New York City on May 6, 2017. 

“These students have excelled at the IPPF’s unique test of research, analytical, writing and advocacy skills,” said William A. Brewer III, chairman of the Brewer Foundation and a founder of the IPPF. “They now advance to the Round of 32 – the next written round of the competition and a step closer to the IPPF Finals.” 

This year, hundreds of teams submitted qualifying round essays affirming or negating the 2016-17 IPPF topic, “Resolved: The obligation to provide safe haven for refugees should outweigh a government’s right to control its borders.” Those essays were reviewed by a committee, which determined the “Round of 64” teams based on the overall quality of each 2,800-word essay.

In November, the  “Round of 64” teams then began a single-elimination, written debate competition. Each team was assigned a position (affirmative or negative) and then volleyed papers back and forth with another team via email. A panel of judges reviewed the essays and selected the winning teams. In that round, Westfield Academy advanced over Poly Prep Country Day School from Brooklyn, New York.

The “Top 32” round begins immediately. Westfield Academy will compete in a written debate against East Mountain High School from Sandia Park, New Mexico. The top 32 teams include 26 U.S. teams from 17 U.S. states. There are six international teams from schools in China, Czech Republic, Kingdom of Bahrain, Nepal, Slovakia and Taiwan.

The winning teams will be announced on Feb. 13, and will proceed to the “Sweet 16” round. On March 23, the “Elite 8” teams will be announced. Those teams will travel to New York City on an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF Finals in New York City. The Finals will take place on May 6, 2017, at the Harold Pratt House.

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 winning team will take home the “Brewer Cup” and a $10,000 grand prize.

The “Top 32” teams:

Beijing ENREACH, Beijing, China

Rato Bangala School, Lalitpur, Nepal

Hathaway Brown School (1), Shaker Heights, Ohio

Trinity Preparatory School, Winter Park, Florida

The British School of Bahrain, Hamala, Kingdom of Bahrain

Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Bridgewater, New Jersey

The Davidson Academy of Nevada, Reno, Nevada

Woodward Academy, College Park, Georgia

Solon High School, Solon, Ohio

Team Czech Republic, Říčany u Prahy, Czech Republic

duPont Manual High School, Louisville, Kentucky

Ladue Horton Watkins High School, St. Louis, Missouri

Unionville High School, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

La Cañada High School, La Cañada, California

Millburn High School, Millburn, New Jersey

Jasper High School, Plano, Texas

Greenwich High School, Greenwich, Connecticut

Peak to Peak Charter School, Lafayette, Colorado

Plano West Senior High School, Plano, Texas

Annapolis High School, Annapolis, Maryland

Hendrickson High School, Pflugerville, Texas

North Allegheny Senior High School, Wexford, Pennsylvania

Notre Dame High School, Sherman Oaks, California

Stuyvesant High School, New York, New York

Taipei American School, Taipei, Taiwan

Bonita Vista High School, Chula Vista, California

Bilingvalne gymnazium Milana Hodzu, Sucany, Slovakia

Plano Senior High School, Plano, Texas

East Mountain High School, Sandia Park, New Mexico

Westfield Academy, West Hartford, Connecticut

John Handley High School, Winchester, Virginia

Carmel High School, Carmel, Indiana

About the IPPF and the Brewer Foundation:

The IPPF was founded in 2001 by the Brewer Foundation (formerly Bickel & Brewer Foundation), and is now jointly administered with New York University. The program is available to all high schools around the world – public and private – for free. The IPPF is endorsed by leading forensic agencies, such as the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, the International Debate Education Association, the Impact Coalition, Associated Leaders of Urban Debate Leagues, and the National Debate Coaches Association. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed the IPPF on the NASSP Advisory List of Student Contests and Activities every year since 2012.

The Brewer Foundation is a private, non-profit organization funded by companies, individuals and the national litigation firm of Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors. With offices in New York and Dallas, the Foundation has achieved widespread recognition for its efforts to create, fund and manage a variety of educational outreach programs.

Visit the IPPF at www.ippfdebate.com, www.facebook.com/ippfdebate, or on Twitter at @IPPF1.

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