Students from Nashville’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School recently won the WorldQuest Tennessee State Competition, hosted at Belmont University, and earned a trip to the World Affairs Council of America’s national competition in Washington, D.C. After a 100-question, three and a half hour contest, the students secured the title.
The competition, organized by the Tennessee World Affairs Council, pitted MLK seniors Regan Goodrich and Rachel Townson, sophomore Kevin Gomez and Freshman Jocelyn Hartley against other students. Team coach and veteran teacher Catherine Kelly said, “The WorldQuest competition was a wonderful experience.” She credited Lipscomb University senior Elizabeth Ashwood, co-coach, with thoroughly preparing the team.
Tennessee World Affairs Council President Patrick Ryan said, “The Martin Luther King High School students were ready and did a great job against very tough competition. This is the first year we had out of state teams compete in our match. The councils in their area didn’t offer WorldQuest and it was easy for us to welcome them. Our objective is to encourage as many people as possible, regardless of state lines, to try to better understand the important issues and challenges America faces in the world.”
The student teams and audience were welcomed to Belmont by Dr. Jeffrey Overby, director of the Center for International Business and a Council board member. He noted the importance of a well-rounded understanding of foreign affairs for success in academic and professional endeavors. Overby told the students, “I’m glad you’re here at Belmont today for this competition, and I applaud your hard work and interest in international affairs.”
WorldQuest is a quiz bowl-like flagship program of the Tennessee World Affairs Council, a Nashville based nonprofit educational association that develops programs to educate and inspire people to understand global issues. The competition runs year-round with teams engaging in reviewing study guides, practice matches and keeping up with current international events. The ten rounds of questions came from categories includinh NATO, Asia Matters for America, International Trade and Finance, Privacy in the Digital Age, Food Security and current events, among others.
The winners of competitions from among the 96 independent councils around the country will meet in a match organized by the World Affairs Councils on America at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on April 23 to determine a national champion. Tennessee’s winners from MLK will be escorted to Washington by Tennessee Council staff to embark on many events including think tanks, visits to Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, NGOs and others where they will gain insight into foreign affairs.
Ambassador Charles Bowers, a member of the World Affairs Council board and a judge at Sunday’s WorldQuest match said, “The fact that we had 40 students from three states come out on a Sunday afternoon for a program that encourages global affairs awareness was wonderful and bodes well for America.”
A team from the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology who traveled from Atlanta took second place honors in the match and a team from the Randolph School in Huntsville placed third. Other schools in the competition included Montgomery Bell Academy, which had taken the most recent two Tennessee WorldQuest titles, The McCallie School in Chattanooga, and Centennial High School in Franklin.
The World Affairs Council’s programs are open to all schools and community members.