AJHS Debaters are champs of first ever UP Los Baños Inter-School Debate; Tan is Best Finals Speaker!
A group of Ateneo Junior High School (AJHS) debaters comprised of Matti Tan (10-Mayer), David Africa (10-Mayer), & Ryan Oquiza (10-Owen) emerged as the grand champions of the 1st Zoology Inter-School Debate Championship hosted by University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños on October 17, 2016. As Team AJHS A, Tan, Africa and Oquiza successfully opposed the motion, “This house would ban the use of sentient animals in experimentation” against Saint Paul’s College Pasig A, winning on a unanimous 5-0 decision. Matti Tan was also awarded Best Speaker of the Finals, and won a cash prize of Php 500.00. The team won the grand prize of Php 5,000.00. Team AJHS A was undefeated throughout the entire tournament.
Team AJHS B, comprised of Matthew Mercado (10-Southwell), Carlo Pastor (10-Mayer), and CJ Carlos (10-Mayer) reached the quarterfinals of the tournament. The performance was impressive for a team with two novice members. They bowed out on a very close margin to a more experienced and eventual semifinalist Assumption College A.
It is noteworthy that the AJHS Debaters came in as the youngest contingent in the entire tournament. Whereas every other debate team from the other schools sent teams composed of senior high and junior high school students, the AJHS Debaters competed as the only junior high school-only contingent, and went all the way to win the championship.
It is also a historic win because it is the first championship that the new and young org has won since the school’s formal transition to the K-12 system last June. The team has slowly learned to adjust its training and development systems to maximize the talents of a young bench of aspiring debaters.
The tournament was hosted and conceptualized by The Parliament: UP Los Baños Debate Society, and the Organization of Zoology Majors (OZOOMS). The event aimed to raise awareness of pressing environmental and zoological issues among the Philippine Youth. This was accomplished by pre-releasing the topics to be debated four days before the actual competition. This allowed competing debaters to research extensively on topics that ranged from no-kill animal shelters, to trophy hunting, and the Animal Welfare Act. A total of 16 teams of three students each registered for the one-day event.
The team extends its thanks to Dr. Carmela Oracion, Principal of the Ateneo Junior High School, and Mr. Ronan B. Capinding, Associate Principal For Student Affairs, who provided permission and support for the competition. The team would especially like to thank its moderator, Mr. Joel Falgui of the English Department, for his mentorship and guidance to the young and fledgling org. The team was accompanied to the competition by coaches Tres Yap and Henry Fernando.
The team is currently in preparation for more tournaments coming its way as the school year rolls on. The AJHS Debaters look to continue making a name for itself by excelling in competitions and putting meaning to its team slogan, “We speak, they listen.”