By Paul Daza and Joel Falgui
Images by Lani De Leon, Jc Mercado, and Marivic Ocampo
Representing the Philippines, 18 high school debaters from Ateneo de Manila University made a remarkable debut at the World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions (WSC TOC) organized and hosted by Yale University. The WSC TOC was held in Yale’s New Haven, Connecticut campus from Nov. 10 to 14. The Ateneans harvested a total of 140 medals—58 golds and 82 silvers—in the prestigious competition that pitted them against close to 2,200 students from 50 countries.
Though the WSC TOC is on its 10th year, the 2017 edition marked the first time that the Ateneo de Manila joined the competition. Representing Ateneo Junior High School at Yale were eventual medalists Simon Angoluan (five golds, seven silvers), David Bejarin (two golds, eight silvers), Josh Caluya (three golds, four silvers), Gareth de Leon (one gold, five silvers), Rap del Valle (one gold, five silvers), Andrei Gelbolingo (seven golds, four silvers), Michael Ocampo (two golds, four silvers), AC Saulong (one gold, three silvers), Christian Tiamzon (one gold, two silvers), Shawn Tongson (two golds, six silvers), and Xavi Tuazon (two golds, three silvers). From the Ateneo Senior High School were Paco Blanco (eight golds, four silvers), Raphael Estacio (six golds, three silvers), Matthew Mercado (five golds, five silvers), Riane Oquiza (four golds, three silvers), Yuan Ordenes (two golds, nine silvers), Carlos Pastoral (three golds, four silvers), and Javy Pineda (three golds, three silvers). The medal tallies of Andrei Gelbolingo and Paco Blanco each include an additional gold medal for being the most bemedalled students fielded by Ateneo de Manila in the junior and senior division, respectively.
There is more to the awards and medals harvested by the Ateneo delegation.
In the senior division, Paco Blanco is ranked 29th in Challenge Literature, 13th in Challenge Special Area (Modern Mythology), 48th in Challenge History, 115th Champion Debater, and the 52nd best Champion Scholar out of approximately 1,100 contestants. As stated earlier, he is also the top Senior Division Scholar for Ateneo de Manila University.
Shawn Tongson is the 119th ranked debater in the senior division and his team (Tongson, de Leon, Ordenes) is the 49th top debate team out of approximately 366 teams.
Yuan Ordenes is ranked 44th in Challenge Literature out of approximately 1,100 senior division contestants, out of whom Matthew Mercado is also ranked 67th best Champion Scholar, 46th best writer, and 129th Champion Debater and his team (Mercado, Pastoral, Blanco) is the 27th top debate team and 42nd top writing team as well.
Carlos Pastoral is ranked 41st in Challenge Science out of approximately 1,100 senior division contestants while Raphael Estacio is ranked 38th in Challenge History, 47th in Challenge Science, and 177th Champion Debater and his team (Estacio, Oquiza, Pineda) is the 19th top debate team, 51st Scholar’s Bowl team, and 43rd Champion team out of an estimated 366 teams.
Riane Oquiza is ranked 16th Champion Debater out of approximately 1,100 senior division contestants.
In the junior division, Andrei Gelbolingo is ranked as the 49th Champion Scholar, 113th Champion Debater, 120th Writing Champion, and 44th in Challenge Special Area (Modern Mythology) out of approximately 1,100 contestants. As previously stated, he is also the top Junior Division Scholar for Ateneo de Manila University.
David Bejarin is ranked 10th in Challenge History out of approximately 1,100 contestants in the junior division and his team (Bejarin, Tiamzon, and Tuazon) is the 61st ranked Writing Team out of approximately 366 teams.
In the same division, Xavi Tuazon is ranked 91st Champion Writer out of approximately 1,100 contestants while Josh Caluya is ranked 50th in Challenge History out of approximately 1,100 contestants and his team (Angoluan, Caluya, Gelbolingo) is the 36th Top Challenge Team and the 42nd Top Writing Team out of an estimated 366 teams.
Simon Angoluan is the 179th Writing Champion, 19th Challenge Special Area, and 47th ranked in Challenge (All Subjects) out of approximately 1,100 contestants in the junior division, in which AC Saulong is also ranked 44th in Challenge Arts & Music out of approximately 1,100 contestants.
Michael Ocampo is ranked 48th in Challenge History, and 44th in Challenge Literature out of approximately 1,100 contestants in the junior division, out of whom Rap del Valle is ranked 159th Debate Champion.
The World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions consisted of the Scholar’s Challenge, a written exam on the subject areas of Science, Literature, History, Social Studies, Arts & Music, and Special Area/Modern Mythologies; the Scholar’s Bowl, a quiz bee on all six subjects; an on-the-spot Collaborative Essay Writing challenge; and three rounds of Team Debates. There were also social and cultural events like the Scholars’ Scavenger Hunt, the Scholar’s Talent Show, the Scholar’s Ball, and the Cultural Fair, which gave scholars the opportunity to interact with students, coaches, and teachers from the 50 countries that participated in the WSC TOC. There was also a talk/Q&A with Rita Mae Reese (author of The Alphabet Conspiracy) and a College Panel where several students currently enrolled at Yale spoke about their experiences on campus and replied to questions asked by the WSC TOC participants. All students participating in WSC are called “scholars” and are categorized into the junior (below 15 years old) and senior (15 years old and above) divisions. Since some AJHS teams’ compositions included students who were 15 or older, these teams were entered in the senior division. As such, some of the younger AJHS Debaters had the additional challenge of facing students much older than them. Nevertheless, the Ateneans excelled and still brought honor to both the Ateneo and the Philippines on the international stage.The boys were trained by Joel Falgui and supported by the JHS and SHS administrations, the Computer subject area, and Educational Media Centers.
The AJHS and ASHS debaters wish to extend their thanks and gratitude to. Ria Arespacochaga, Jennifer Concepcion, Ron Capinding, Noel Miranda, Kristine Valdellon, BA Coballes, Elsa Frago, and most especially to Dr. Carmela C. Oracion for supporting the boys in this life-changing experience.
Gratitude is also extended to Cocolife, CEP Design and Construction, and Benjamin Yap of Unilab for magnanimously sponsoring the Ateneo contingent’s participation in Yale University’s World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions. Last but not least, the Ateneo delegation also thanks the Department of Tourism for the eye-catching materials it provided as decorations and giveaways for Ateneo’s “Visit the Philippines” booth during the Cultural Fair.
Tags: Andrei Gelbolingo, Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo Junior High School, Ateneo Senior High School, Ateneo wins 140 medals at Yale university competition, Carlos Pastoral, Challenge Special Area, Champion Debater, Champion team, Gareth de Leon, golds, junior division, Matthew Mercado, Paco Blanco, Raphael Estacio, Riane Oquiza, Shawn Tongson, WSC TOC, Yale University, Yuan Ordenes