Skip to main content »

Baguio Student named World's Best High School Debater

Robert Nelson Leung, a Baguio student was named Overall Best Speaker at the World Schools Debate Championships (WSDC).

 |  4 min read

Robert Nelson Leung, a Grade 12 student from PSHS Baguio Campus, named Overall Best Speaker at the World Schools Debate Championships (WSDC).

Robert Nelson "Toby" R. Leung, a Grade 12 student from the Philippine Science High School - Cordillera Administrative Region (PSH-CAR), won the title as Overall Best Speaker at the World Schools Debate Championships (WSDC).

Toby averaged 73.17 speaker points across eight preliminary debate rounds and bested 372 other student participants around the world.

Among those he defeated were representatives of Canada and Singapore who are considered the "debate powerhouses".

The 2021 WSDC edition had the participation of 76 countries around the world. This year's edition marks the second consecutive time the competition has been held online through Zoom.

Macau organized and hosted this year's edition from July 26 to August 6, 2021.

Robert Nelson "Toby" R. Leung

Leung finished senior high school with the highest general weighted average in the entire Philippine Science High School System for the School Year 2020-2021 at 1.03.

The Philippine Science High School System is a research-oriented and specialized public high school system in the Philippines that operates as an attached agency of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology. The Philippine Science High School (PSHS) is considered the top science high school in the Philippines and is viewed to be among the best in the ASEAN region by 2016.

A total of 1,330 Grade 12 students from the PSHS are graduating for School Year 2020-2021. the number of graduating students is 98.08 percent of the 1,356 Grade 12 students in the 14 campuses of the PSHS System. From among the graduates, 49.55 percent are receiving academic honors, 35 or 2.63 percent are awarded highest honors, their general weighted average (GWA) in six years being between 1.0 -1.20; and 624 or 46.92 percent are receiving with high honors, their GWA being between 1-21-1.50.

Robert Nelson "Toby" R. Leung of PSHS-CAR received the highest GWA at 1.03. He finished senior high school officially on 25 May 2021, as one of the 87 Hiranglaya Batch of 2021.

Toby's awards include Excellence in English, Social Science, and Research, and he was recognized as a PSHS Leadership Awardee.

Among his achievements is their group project where they developed an artificial intelligence machine learning program that detects fractures based on x-ray, which may be likened to an image recognition software that allows identification of details on an image or photo. The project was recognized during their internal research congress.

He is also a member of the World Schools Debate Team which fought well in various tournaments, he attended the 7th Oldham Cup 2021 held on 30 April 2021 to 02 May 2021 where he was adjudged Overall Best Speaker and Best Reply Speaker, beating debaters from other countries.

First Big win of the Philippines in the WSDC

Started in 1988, the WSDC is an annual global debate competition considered the "Olympics of high school debate" by debate societies. It uses the World Schools format, the global standard for high school debating.

No Filipino has ever won or been given an award as Best Speaker in the history of the tournament - not until now. This is a great honor for the Philippines.

The 2021 Philippine team to WSDC is composed of the following high school students:

  • Robert Leung, Grade 12, Philippine Science HS - Baguio campus
  • David Bloom, Grade 12, International School of Manila - Taguig campus
  • Jake Peralta, Grade 12, PAREF Southridge HS - Alabang campus
  • Riva Fong, Grade 12, De La Salle Zobel HS - Alabang campus
  • Chanel Ang, Grade 12, Immaculate Conception Academy HS - Greenhills campus

The Philippine team debated on topics about the commercialization of space, the right of Olympic athletes to protest, reducing income tax rates for women, and the Westernization of elites in post-colonial countries.

The Philippine team won the bronze medal when they reached the semifinals for the second time. Our country first got merit in 2012.

The Philippine team had 6 wins and 2 losses out of 8 preliminary rounds and finished third in the knockout rounds.

The Filipinos beat the Czech Republic in the pre-octos, India in the octofinals, and Romania in the quarterfinals to reach the semis.

Hong Kong beat them on the topic "This House supports an individual carbon credit."

Meanwhile, other members of the Philippine high school debate team were also given the best speaker awards in the 2021 WSDC edition.

David Bloom from the International School of Manila is Fourth Best Speaker; 6th Best Speaker was Jake Peralta of Southridge High School, and Riva Fong from De La Salle Zobel was the 11th Best Speaker.

Full of broken thoughts I cannot repair.

Sharing is caring, kailian!

We do hope you find something great in this story. If you find this helpful, please do share it with the people you care about.

Igorotage is a platform for people to share their thoughts and ideas. The views expressed on Igorotage are the opinions of the individual users, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Igorotage.

Comments (1)

Sign in to share your thoughts. No account yet?

What to learn next?

You might also like to read more related articles filed under People — or jump to a random article!

People Surprise me

Sergeant Sessy Lou Bucalen-Salazar: Cordilleran Soldier Makes History at WCOPA

Sergeant Sessy Lou Bucalen-Salazar from Kalinga made history by becoming the first Cordilleran to win three medals at the 2023 WCOPA.

Aug 5 · 2 min read

Rising Prices of Basic Goods in the Cordillera: The Government Needs to Act

The people of the Cordillera are struggling to make ends meet as the prices of basic goods continue to rise.

Jul 4 · 2 min read

Cordilleran Captain awarded Gold Cross Medal for neutralizing BIFF leader Motorola

Cordilleran Captain Ignacio Gumilab Jr. was awarded the Gold Cross Medal for his role in the neutralization of Zukarno Guilil, also known as Motorola.

Aug 15 · 2 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Exploring the Cordillera Administrative Region

The Cordillera is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Philippines. There is something for everyone in the Cordillera.

Jul 15 · 4 min read

50 Cordillerans (6 Achievers) graduates from PMA Class of 2023

Six cadets out of 50 Cordillerans are among the achievers and outstanding graduates of the PMA MADASIGON Class of 2023.

May 22 · 1 min read

Cordillerans, Cagayanos Unite for Peace, Condemn CTG during its Anniversary

More than 2000 individuals from different groups in the Cordilleras joined in a gathering called "Peace Convention: Peace Walk and Peace Concert".

Mar 30 · 3 min read

28 Cordillerans among PNPA MASIDTALAK Class 2023 Grads

28 Cordillerans are among the 208 graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy MASIDTALAK Class of 2023.

Mar 10 · 1 min read

Cordilleran Math Teacher Raymar Galinggan Named Outstanding Educator of the Philippines

Raymar Galinggan, a math teacher from Tabuk City, has been named Outstanding Educator of the Philippines for his innovative teaching methods.

Dec 23, 2022 · 2 min read

Igorot OFWs: The Resilience of the Cordillera People

Igorot OFWs are a resilient group of people who have faced many challenges in their lives. Learn how they are making a difference in the world.

Jul 7 · 4 min read

Strawberry Farm La Trinidad: A Strawberry Lover's Dream Come True

Visit Strawberry Farm La Trinidad in the Cordillera for a fun and delicious day out. Pick your own fresh strawberries and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Jun 30 · 3 min read