2018 Ambassador Challenge Highlights: Celebrating Student Voice

Forty-eight middle and high school students from across DC voiced strong opinions, cited hard evidence, rebutted counterclaims, and demanded action on social justice issues deeply relevant to their own lives. It was all part of the One World Ambassador Challenge, held on March 20th, 2018 at the National Housing Center. Nearly 300 community leaders, family members, teachers, and students watched as one student after another confidently stepped to the microphone and spoke with passion, poise, and great purpose as they competed to see who could deliver the most compelling presentation. A panel of eight judges awarded $10,000 in academic prizes and college scholarships.

Some students made their points with humor. “Raise your hand if you have been distracted by technology,” said Stanley Azoroh from E.L. Haynes PCS. “Keep your hand raised if you ended up not finishing your work because of it.”

Others shared stories of personal pain. Ninth-grader Tyaja Barnes of Chavez Capitol Hill PCS spoke about what she experienced as the child of a teen mother. “I was abused physically and emotionally, feeling no love,” she told the assembled crowd, before demanding an end to teen pregnancy so that “no other child would have to go through what I went through.”

Keynote speaker Scott Pearson, the Executive Director of the DC Public Charter School Board, was inspired enough with what he had seen that he discarded his prepared remarks and spoke from the heart. He voiced his frustration with the drumbeat of negative stories pounding District schools in recent weeks, wishing that all those reporters could have seen what he had just seen. He concluded by saying that he was proud to see what DC schools were “ready to unleash on the world.”

The event marked the culmination of a process that started in the fall. Thousands of students across the city used the One World Program in their ELA or Social Studies classes to learn how to research and write argumentative essays. Teachers then selected several of their most committed students to spend seven weeks working intensively during afterschool hours with the One World team to turn their written essays into compelling oral presentations. 

Here you can read more about our brilliant Student Ambassadors, teachers, and judges. For an overview of the event as it was happening, check out the Storify recap

Meet the 2018 winners!

Middle School Ambassadors: Stage Presentations

  • 1st Place - Charles Eze, Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science PCS, Cost of College
  • 2nd Place - Katherine O'Brien, E.L. Haynes PCS, STEM Funding
  • 3rd Place - Leiah Lane, Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy PCS, Bullying

Middle School Ambassadors: Board Presentations

  • 1st Place - Marote Choramo, Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy PCS, Technology
  • 2nd Place - Kyrah Agemble, Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy PCS, Homelessness
  • Board Award - Nia Turner, Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science PCS, Homelessness

High School Ambassadors: Stage Presentations

  • 1st Place - Sosina Gebremichael, Banneker HS, Sexual Assault
  • 2nd Place - Emely Claros, E.L. Haynes PCS, Career Preparedness
  • 3rd Place - Ivoryuna Shreeves, Richard Wright PCS for Journalism and Media Arts, Minimum Wage
  • Voice Award - Tyaja Barnes, Chavez Capitol Hill PCS, Teen Pregnancy

High School Ambassadors: Board Presentations

  • 1st Place - Jasmine Acosta, Wilson HS, Homework
  • 2nd Place - Jaden Ward, Richard Wright PCS for Journalism and Media Arts, Child Custody
  • Board Award - Solomon Omosule, Banneker HS, Gun Violence

Check out some of our talented students below! 

"One voice can make a difference if people listen." 

- Bethle, 7th grade, Howard University PCS

 

7th grade student Jayden from Achievement Prep PCS argues why nutritious school lunches are necessary for optimal academic performance. "I'm very proud of myself. This is the first time I ever told my story to anyone."

- Tyaja, 9th grade, Chavez Capitol Hill PCS

Charles, a 7th grader from Howard University PCS, proudly stands in front
of his board as he shares his argument
on student loans.

 

"We can all help prevent child abuse if we encourage the government to provide free parenting classes."

- Curtis, 11th grade, Wilson HS

"What I saw tonight was a lot of young people not just straddling that line of greatness but stepping over it, ready to make the world a much better place."

          - Scott Pearson, Executive Director,             DC Public Charter School Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to our generous supporters!

 

Hattie M. Strong Foundation