Is a debater born or made? High school debate champions answer

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2016 08:47 PM

In the recently concluded Asian Schools Debate Championship, three boys from Ateneo High School emerged victorious, bringing home the trophy again from when they last clinched it in 2010.

The top honors they received may be huge, but the three say they remain regular teenage boys outside the halls, hanging out together.

They also talked about whether or not a debater is born into the world as one or is shaped into form in one way or another, when they visited [email protected]

Renz Reyes, who was awarded best speaker in the competition, said he was the type of kid who would argue with his mother while growing up. Though he would always lose to her, he eventually learned from his mistakes and is now a champion debater.

Hans Gonzalez, on the other hand, believes he was molded into being a debater after he was thrust into an organization that pushed him out of his shell.

"In the first few tournaments, I had to face the biggest fear for me, which is public speaking. Through that process, I was able to bring out that extrovert in me," he said.

Luigi Alcañeses' public speaking experience meanwhile was limited to the extemporaneous speaking they were made to do in school prior to joining the Ateneo Debate organization.

Reyes said when competing, the first thing to do must be to suspend whatever you believe in and follow the frames of thinking taught by their coaches. Superior knowledge of the topic is also necessary to present a superior argument.

Despite the hurdles, the three bested other Asian competitors in the debate floor in Kuala Lumpur last month.

The three argued against regretting the usage of skin-alteration products against the team from Singapore. Reyes recalled, they argued that a person would have to go to the extent of changing the way one looks to be accepted by society.

"I think what really gave us the edge, other than proving things like discrimination would be even people who go to that choice of wanting to change their skin color, they aren’t doing it because it makes them happy. Oftentimes, they feel pressured by society because society makes them think that if you change your skin color, you’re gonna be treated better," he said.