On April 24, Advisor Mr. John Burns and four members of the World Affairs club departed on an all expense paid trip to Washington D.C. Students Karina Searcy ’16, Matt Kraemer ’16, Michelle Gee ‘16 and Christie Yu ’18 represented Wellesley in the National Academic WorldQuest competition at Georgetown University.
The Academic WorldQuest is a nationwide test that focuses on ten different current issues ranging from the future of energy to human trafficking. The topics are selected by the organization as the top ten most critical topics for students to learn. Mr. Burns feels the competition helps increase awareness to the complexities of issues that would usually get little attention. “It forces the students to investigate a wide range of issues facing the world and, in particular, their generation to which they would probably not be introduced to in a regular high school curriculum” said Burns.
Prior to the competition, the European Union Ambassador to the US, David O’Sullivan, invited the WorldQuest teams to dinner. Students listened to him speak and were able to ask him questions as well. While giving his remarks on the importance of democratic values the students could hear a protest around the corner at the Turkish Embassy, calling for a recognition about the Armenian Genocide. “I thought this took the theory we talked about in class and brought it to life as you could actually see and hear people advocating for the very rights that we as teachers are encouraging students to value”, said Burns.
The next day the group attended the five hour competition at Georgetown. Although they did not win in D.C., Kraemer said, “The test was actually my favorite part. It is always fun to test how well we know the subjects that we have spent so much time studying.”
To qualify for nationals, the team first won the regional Academic WorldQuest competition where they competed with other high schools from the state. The competition was hosted by WorldBoston and took place at Bridgewater State in late March. In order to prepare for the competition, students studied a variety of different current event topics as well as practiced with a study guide.
Although Mr. Burns helps to guide and encourage the students, he is adamant that the club be student run. The club members make and prepare presentations themselves, as well as decide which activities the group participates in. “I wanted the club to be student driven. They are responsible for taking the initiative and doing all the research. Almost all the preparation is done by them” said Burns.
Karina Searcy joined the World Affairs club her sophomore year. “I think it’s very important to know what is happening in the world, and to be informed”, said Searcy ’16. Her favorite part of the competition this year was meeting new people, including meeting a team from Egypt.
Kraemer believes the competition is a great learning experience for students. “During this trip I learned how enjoyable it is to succeed at something I have invested so much time into. I’ve participated in Academic Worldquest for 3 years, and each year the team has improved, and eventually I have achieved my goal of making nationals” said Kraemer ’16.
(Louise Lynn ’17, Staff Writer)