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Oxford High debate team advances in world competition

The Oxford High School debate team is one of 16 teams competing in the 2018-19 International Public Policy Forum (IPPF).

The worldwide competition, sponsored by the Brewer Foundation and New York University, is the first and only competition that gives high school students the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy.

With Oxford’s team advancing to the Round of 16 they remain eligible to win a $10,000 grand prize. They are the only team out of Mississippi to advance.

Elias Addy, Gillian Meyers, Jupiter O’Donnell and Zuzu Al-Sherri are the members of the Oxford High team.

Teams had to submit qualifying essays affirming or negating the IPPF topic, ‘Resolved: U.S. abdication of international leadership creates dangerous global instability.’ The essays were then reviewed by a committee, which helped determine the top 64 teams based on the overall quality of the 2,800-word essay.

In November, the 64 teams began a single-elimination, written debate competition. Each team was assigned either an affirmative or negative position and then traded responses back and forth with another team via email for six weeks. A panel of judges reviewed the essays in the order they were presented and selected the winning team.

In the opening round, Oxford advanced past Chaminade High School out of Mineola, New York. They then got past the team from William Mason High School out of Mason, Ohio. Oxford is facing University School from Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

If Oxford advances out of this round and into the competition’s ‘Elite 8’, they will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF finals in New York City on April 27 at the Harold Pratt House.

The ‘Elite 8’ will be announced on March 25. The 16 schools still alive represent 10 states and one team is from India.