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Golden Gate American Students Triumph at CamDEBATE Championship 2024

Phnom Penh – Applause and cheers filled the auditorium at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia on May 19, 2024, as the MC announced the winners of the CamDEBATE Championship 2024: the team from Golden Gate American School (GGAS). The triumphant team consisted of three students: Mark William, Lor Kimsear, and You Chandararith, who credited their school’s support for their victory.

Reflecting on their win, You Chandararith expressed his pride and excitement: "We feel excited, and I am incredibly proud of us. We managed to pull this off after three months of hard work."

CamDEBATE serves as a premier platform for professional development in public speaking and debate, fostering dialogue, understanding, and friendship among local and international youth in Cambodia. This year's competition featured over 900 contestants from nine nationalities, aged between 15 and 23, representing more than 200 schools and universities across Cambodia. The intense competition saw only 16 contestants make it to the final round.

Mark William detailed their rigorous preparation: “We prepared it through setting a meeting almost every night we discuss every argument possible that our opponent could come up with and find solution to those arguments and most importantly is how you set the environment for your team to work with, everyone needs to be happy, healthy, to have full slept that how we prepare to go.”

Lor Kimsear praised their opponents, acknowledging the challenge they posed: “Our Opponent was great; they were really good and we surprise how good they were and they put a nice challenge for us.”

The journey was not without its challenges. Teamwork and managing confrontations were significant hurdles, but the team overcame them through strong team spirit and guidance from their mentor. As team leader, You Chandararith highlighted the importance of collaboration: “that a lot of aspect that goes with team debate. The Script preparation there's teach other people how to talk, managing sleep schedule and other schedule, that a lot of aspect that go I need to managing them this very hard, also the emotional part of debate something they are disagreement, we have to like ultimately come back together.”

Kimsear emphasized the necessity of teamwork: “Without teamwork, we wouldn’t be here. Debate is all about collaboration—one person handles the script, another does research, and another teaches speaking skills. Communication is key.”

The team attributed their success to their mentor, Keo Ravy, expressing gratitude for the invaluable guidance provided. Mark William concluded, “None of this would have happened without our mentor. Thank you, mentor Keo Ravy.”

Golden Gate American School is renowned for its high-quality education both in Cambodia and internationally. The school regularly participates in international competitions such as the Copernicus Olympiad, Pangea Math World Olympiad, World Scholar's Cup, and TeenEagle English competition, often returning with gold medals.

Mr. Stuart Ellis, the teacher of the three students, expressed pride in their achievement: “It’s wonderful to see them happy and successful. I believe they are now more confident about their future prospects. Their critical thinking skills and ability to handle complex abstract concepts have significantly improved.”

GGAS’s commitment to fostering confidence and courage in its students through both local and international competitions is seen as a testament to the success of its curriculum. Ellis explained the school’s philosophy: “We encourage our students to ask questions, present their own solutions, and enjoy the learning process. Education should be enjoyable, not punitive, and this approach prepares students to take on life's challenges confidently.”

Established in 1996, GGAS offers a comprehensive education program including kindergarten, multiple languages, computer skills, marketing, administration, and accounting. Since the 2009-2010 academic year, GGAS has provided general education in Khmer, English, and Chinese for secondary education. The school employs highly qualified staff and aligns its curriculum with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports standards.

Graduates receive both a Cambodian Department of Education certificate and a USA-certified high school diploma.

In July 2023, GGAS was authorized to teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, which emphasizes personal development, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary learning, fostering diversity, curiosity, and a love for learning.

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