2017 Senior Challenge Academy: Week 2

The second week of the Senior Challenge Academy started with just as much enthusiasm as the first week. Students jumped back into collaboration with our Teacher Leaders and teaching artists, receiving support from volunteer mentors as they continued  turning their essays into polished presentations. There are only four more Wednesday sessions until they present their arguments on stage at the historic Howard Theatre on April 12, competing for a portion of the $15,000 in scholarship funds, and the excitement is mounting. During this week’s session, each student developed a targeted outline and hook based on their initial claim, which they will use to build their presentation.

Teaching artist Drew Anderson started the evening by reviewing the 5 Ps of Presentation in depth (presentation, projection, pace, posture, and poise), then  introduced some new ideas aligned with this model. Each student followed along with Mr. Anderson’s presentation, and several  chimed  in when he asked for volunteers to help go over some of the Ps. Students were pleased to hear that there will be a dress rehearsal before the main event, where they will be able to practice the 5 Ps on stage. Mr. Anderson also introduced CRUNK! to the students, which is an acronym for creative, rapturous, unified, natural, and knowledgeable. CRUNK! is one of many tools he uses when presenting, and he advised students to keep it in mind when putting together their own presentations.

Ben Acquah, a 2015 graduate of Benjamin Banneker High School and winner of the 2015 Senior Challenge, was invited as a special guest to offer advice, emphasizing to the current students that it’s okay to be nervous. Ben shared his own experience with the Senior Challenge Academy, adding that he truly believed the sessions helped him prepare for his winning presentation. He told the group that “all it takes is hard work and showing up!”

After Mr. Anderson’s presentation and Ben’s motivational words, students briefly reiterated the 5 Ps, then followed along in their journals as Teacher Leader Desiree Sansing went over a graphic organizer called the Points of Power. This demonstration showed students how to make a structured, powerful impact when presenting by including their name, issue background, hook, personal connection, evidence, counterclaim, and conclusion.

Students then broke into small groups in order to have focused time with a Teacher Leader, mentor, or One World team member. Each student was tasked with hooking their audience in five words or less, an important lesson in being concise and effective as the students prepare to give a presentation in just ninety seconds. They also refined the main claim from their written essay in order to create a better hook. While some needed more help than others with the five-word hook and claim revision, every student showed up prepared and eager to dive into the work.

As the session wrapped up, Teacher Leaders commended the students for working diligently and passionately. The evidence of this was displayed by students’  word choice and body language, as they began to pull all the pieces together for a more refined presentation. Our Teacher Leaders also show up to each session with a passion for this program, demonstrating to the students that they should be loud and proud about the work they are doing here.

In just four more weeks, these seniors will be at the finish line and ready to present their work to an audience. Each week, we’ll give you another  glimpse into the 2017 Senior Challenge Academy, and we hope you’ll be able to join us on April 12 to experience the final result! RSVP here!

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