AJHS boys take home 29 golds, 38 silvers from Yale’s WSC Tournament of Champs 2018

November 27, 2018
By Paul Daza & Joel Falgui; Photos by Mariesel Firmalo, Lani de Leon, Johann Bernardo, Rocky Ledonio

(from left) Senior division scholars Joaquin Reyes, Simon Angoluan, Rapa Bengzon, AC Saulong, Erica Uy, David Bejarin, Ram Orfanel, Cheska Firmalo, Jaime Castro, Gareth de Leon, Matthew Garcia, Christian Tiamzon
Representing the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University, 18 debaters from Ateneo Junior High School (AJHS) and Ateneo Senior High School (ASHS) competed in the 2018 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 November 16 to 21, 2018. The Ateneans harvested a total of 113 medals- 61 golds and 52 silvers- in the prestigious competition that pitted them against approximately 2200 students from over 50 countries. Of this total, 29 golds and 38 silvers were contributed by AJHS boys.  

From AJHS were eventual medalists Anton Abiera (two golds, one silver), David Bejarin (seven golds, three silvers), Rapa Bengzon (four golds, three silvers)  Johann Bernardo (three golds, one silver), Jaime Castro (three golds, six silvers), Gareth De Leon (six golds, three silvers), James Escaño (one silver), Joaquin Guevara (one gold), Matthew Garcia (five silvers), Rocky Ledonio (one gold, three silvers), James Manzano (two silvers), Joaquin Reyes (four silvers), AC Saulong (two golds, five silvers), and Christian Tiamzon (one gold, one silver). From ASHS were Simon Angoluan (seven golds, four silvers), Marie Francesca Firmalo (nine golds, three silvers), Ram Orfanel (nine golds, two silvers), and Erica Justine Uy (six golds, three silvers). 

The team of (from left) Rapa Bengzon, Cheska Firmalo (ASHS) and David Bejarin won three golds and was ranked 50th overall in the senior division.

Also noteworthy about the awards/medals harvested by the Ateneo delegation are the following:  

JUNIOR DIVISION The team of (from left) Anton Abiera, Johann Bernardo and Joaquin Guevara won a gold medal for Team Debating in the junior division
Joaquin “Rocky” Ledonio is ranked 82nd in Literature in a field of approximately 1,100 scholars.
Anton Abiera is ranked 12th among the individual debate champions and among the Top 20% Champion Scholars.
Johann Bernardo is ranked 112th in Social Studies out of approximately 1,100 scholars.
The team of Abiera, Bernardo, and Guevara is ranked 54th among debating teams in the junior division.

The team of Bejarin, Bengzon, and Firmalo is ranked 40th in the Team Bowl, 45th in Team Writing and 50th overall in the Senior Division.
The team of Castro, Tiamzon and Uy is ranked 42nd in the Team Bowl.  They are also in the Top 15% of the Team Challenge. 
The team of Angoluan, De Leon, and Orfanel is ranked 28th overall in the Team Countdown and 75th in Team Debate.

(from left) The team of  Simon Angoluan (ASHS), Ram Orfanel (ASHS) and Gareth de Leon won three gold medals and was ranked 28th overall in the senior division

AC Saulong is ranked 65th in Special Area and 95th in Literature out of approximately 1,200 scholars.  
David Bejarin is ranked 7th in Social Studies, 18th in Literature, and 76th in Special Area. He is among the Top 5% in Individual Challenge and among the Top 30% Champion Scholars.
Jaime Miguel Castro is ranked 59th in History, and 73rd in Arts out of approximately 1,100 scholars. He is among the Top 15% in Individual Challenge.  
Gareth de Leon is ranked 30th in History and 47th in Social Studies in a field of approximately 1,100 scholars.  

The team of (from left) Rocky Ledonio, Henry James Escaño and James Manzano won a silver medal for Team Debating in the junior division

Here is a more detailed description of each AJHS boy's medal haul:
Anton Alfonso A Abiera (La Storta/9-Fenwick): two golds (Debate, Team Debate) + one silver (Social Studies)
David Benjamin W Bejarin (La Storta/9-Fausti): seven golds (Arts, Social Studies, Literature, Special Area, Team Writing, Team Scholar’s Bowl, 50th team overall) + three silvers (Science, Writing, Team Challenge)  
Rafael Leandro V Bengzon (Montserrat/9-Kisai): four golds (Writing, Team Writing, Team Scholar’s Bowl, 50th overall) + three silvers (Social Studies, Literature, Special Area)
Johann Ricci B Bernardo (La Storta/9-Fernandes): three golds (Debate, Social Studies, Team Debate) + one silver (History)
Jaime Miguel L Castro (Pamplona/10-Whitbread): three golds (Arts, History, Team Scholar’s Bowl) + six silvers (Social Studies, Literature, Science, Debate, Special Area, Team Debate) 
Rhian Gareth B De Leon (Cardoner/10-Chabanel): six golds (Arts, Social Studies, History, Team Debate, Scholar’s Bowl Team, 28th Overall Team) + three silvers (Literature, Debate, Team Challenge)

Gareth de Leon’s individual medal haul was three golds and two silvers. His team won three golds and one silver in the WSC TOC team events.
Henry James B Escaño (La Storta/9-Fernandes): one silver (Team Debate)
Alexander Matthew Garcia (Pamplona/10-Zuraire): five silvers (Science, Special Area, Debate, Team Debate, Team Scholar’s Bowl)
Joaquin Enrique P Guevara (La Storta/9-Fenwick): one gold (Team Debate)
Gerard Oliver Joaquin C Ledonio (La Storta/9-Fernandes): one gold (Literature) + three silvers (Social Studies, Debate, Team Debate)
James Raupert A Manzano (L9-Fernandes): two silvers (Debate, Team Debate)
Joaquin Manuel G Reyes (C10-Canisius): four silvers (Arts, Special Area, Team Debate, Team Scholar’s Bowl)  
Arnold Christopher L Saulong (Pamplona/10-Whitbread): two golds (Literature, Special Area) + five silvers (Social Studies, Debate, Writing, Team Debate, Team Scholar’s Bowl)
Christian Nicholas C Tiamzon (C9-Baldinucci): one gold (Team Scholar’s Bowl) + one silver (Team Debate)

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 & 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 which participated in the WSC TOC.  Another event was the College Panel where 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 trained with Joel Falgui and Czari Oliveros and were supported by the JHS and SHS administrations, the Computer subject area, and Educational Media Center. 
The AJHS and ASHS debaters wish to extend their thanks and gratitude to Mrs. Gen Sanvictores, Mrs. Jennifer Concepcion, Mr. Ron Capinding, Mr. Noel Miranda, Mr. BA Coballes, Mrs. Elsa Frago, Mr. Melvin Apo, and most especially to Mr. Jonny Salvador and Mrs. Bitchik Dimalanta for supporting the students in this life-changing experience.

Gratitude is also extended to Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions, Joseph Benjamin Ilagan of Seer Technologies Inc., Thema Tutorial Center, the Tourism Promotions Board, and Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO). The Ateneo delegation also thanks Atty. Arthur Abiera Jr. and Mrs. Anna Bengzon for serving as adjudicators in the WSC TOC 2018.