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Bob Jones Debate Team in NYC’s ‘Elite 8’

After qualifying rounds, Aditya Mathur, from left, Jordan Cozby and Kayla Buckelew from Bob Jones High School will compete in the “Elite 8” with the International Public Policy Forum. CONTRIBUTED
After qualifying rounds, Aditya Mathur, from left, Jordan Cozby and Kayla Buckelew from Bob Jones High School will compete in the “Elite 8” with the International Public Policy Forum. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – For the second consecutive year, the Bob Jones Debate Team has advanced to the “Elite 8” in the International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) and will compete in New York City.

Students Kayla Buckelew, Jordan Cozby, Aditya Mathur and their debate teacher Leah Faris make for a tough team for any opponent, Bob Jones Principal Sylvia Lambert said.

“This (win) is most incredible. But, with these outstanding students, I am not surprised. These young people are truly impressive and have an impeccable voice,” Lambert said.

The forum is the first and only debate competition that offers high school students around the world a venue in which to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. Students worldwide are competing with entries from 28 states and 30 countries. Judges selected the Top 64, Top 32, Sweet 16 and Elite 8 leading to the finals.

Bob Jones’ debate round in NYC is scheduled for April 2. Bob Jones is the only team from Alabama remaining in the competition. A judging committee determined the top 64 teams based on the overall quality of each 2,800-word essay.

This year’s debate topic is “Resolved: Genetically modified organisms are essential to global food security.” “We have had to argue both sides of the topic as our position is randomly assigned at the outset of each round,” Cozby said.

The Council for Foreign Relations headquarters will host the championship rounds. Team members also will attend a function in One World Trade Center and visit other city sites.

Eliminations opened in November 2015. Each team was assigned a position (affirmative or negative) and then volleyed papers back and forth with another team via email. Panels of judges reviewed the essays and selected the winning teams.

Bob Jones eliminated International School of Geneva from Switzerland; Los Alamos High School from New Mexico; and Greenwich High School in Connecticut. In New York, Bob Jones will first face Union High School of Camas, Wash.

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

For more information, visit ippfdebate.com.

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