By Mark Ambrogi
After being invited to compete in the Indiana Council on World Affairs state competition, Carmel social studies teacher John Carter had three weeks to prepare.
It took one week to put together a team. Carter, a Rho Kappa Society (National Social Studies Honor Society) adviser, was able to form three teams. CHS won the Academic WorldQuest state competition, which covered international relations and foreign affairs, edging Warren Central 83 to 81 Feb. 25 at the University of Indianapolis. School of Knowledge was third. The other two Carmel teams finished fourth and fifth.
The winning team included Ayon Mitra, Matthew Simons, Dalton Thompson and Xuchen Wei. The group will advance to the national competition April 27 to 29 in Washington, D.C. Michael Wang, the alternate, will sub for Wei, who will compete in a science competition that weekend.
“Although at first we were rather intimidated by how quickly the competition was approaching, we had all been learning about international affairs and current events together in Junior States of America, a political discussions club that Michael (Wang) and I founded this year,” Simons said. “We were also all very well-versed within our respective focus areas. I, for example, am very active on the economics team, and so many of the economics questions in the competition came easily. Ayon also had extensive knowledge on European politics, making him ideal to answer questions over Europe.”
Mitra said the group believed those two weeks were enough to gain a solid understanding of the material.
“Thus, while we knew we faced strong competition from Warren Central and the School of Knowledge, I wouldn’t say that the victory was a complete surprise,” Mitra said. “Our team’s biggest strength was our coordination. In the two weeks that we were preparing, we worked together to divide topics amongst ourselves based on our academic backgrounds and relative strengths. During the competition, our distribution of topics helped us to quickly and efficiently answer the questions.”
Carmel’s team expenses to the national competition will be paid by the Indiana Council on World Affairs. Students will tour the White House April 28, have a reception at the National Institute of Peace and compete April 29 at the National Press Club.
“All five members of that team are brilliant,” Carter said.