Teen Tournament a success!

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Rachel Faulkner writes, Many times, teens are looked down upon as being naive, ignorant, and arrogant, and perhaps some of us are.

Many times, teens are looked down upon as being naive, ignorant, and arrogant, and perhaps some of us are. But what the world doesn’t always realize is that a lot of teens are concerned about the world. We recognize world issues and economic crises. We get it. We’reaware of it. Such was the thinking of the hundreds of Colorado students who participated in the World Affairs Challenge last Saturday, March 5, in Sturm hall of Denver University. The World Affairs Challenge, put on by the Center for Teaching International Relations at Denver University, is a tournament for middle and high school students in Colorado. It deals with world issues such as the environment, the economy, and foreign relations.The first part of the day’s activities was the Global Quiz, in which every student individually takes a 50 question, multiple choice test aboutworld issues. Then, they got together in their school’s group topreform their Formal Presentations.This year’s topic was divided into three categories: Social Studies (migration and human rights), Hard Science (Water and Energy), and Economics/Business (Trade and Agriculture). Each team was asked to pick a subtopic under one of these categories to create a formal presentation about. After lunch, the students will be split into groups with students from other schools to participate in the Collaborative Question, in which they had to work together to solve the issue on hand. Before the tournament began, there was a brief Introductory Ceremony in the Davis Auditorium. Jim Kidder, who organized the event, gave his speech to much raucous applause from the assembled teens. Init, he quoted Ghandi and told the kids, “Like it or not, you guys have a hand in what the future will look like.” Then Korbel Dean Tom Farer spoke briefly, before welcoming Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to the stage. The mayor gave a rousing speech, quoting Mark Twain and sharing jokes. He admitted, “In high school, I was a geek!”, which brought titters from the audience. Then he moved on to more important issues. He spoke about the ecomonmy and the importance of thinking critically. “My basic advice in life is work hard and be nice,” he said, “Find your passion today.” After the introdution ceremony, the students took their Global Quiz before journeying to their separate rooms to begin their Formal Presentations. Some were rolling with wit and hilarity, others were more somber. In one room, a continual track of inspiring videos played, detailing heartbreaking stories of children in Africa who are HIV positive,and the inspiration of children in Egypt making a difference, one recycling box at a time. The results could not have been harder to call, but in the end, Smoky Hill High School won the BestOverall for their skit about clean water. I was struck by the maturity of the teenagers present. It was comforting to know that someone in our generation cares about what the future looks like. As Jim Kidder said, “You guys can and will make a difference!”