When Brian Ashburn found out about a contest where high school students could win a trip to New York City, he enlisted the help of his fellow Brainerd High School debate team members, Chelsea Holub, Colin Sullivan and Jenna Riley.
The four BHS juniors went to work this spring as a team. They produced public service announcements on YouTube.com, wrote 15 essays, hosted a public debate at the school in March and blogged about the topic of water conservation. Each project they completed earned them points during the contest. They spent time cleaning up beaches along White Sand and Perch lakes in Baxter and even wrote a song and performed in a short video soap opera, all about water conservation.
"It was a lot of out-of-your-comfort-zone stuff," said Sullivan.
But their hard work has paid off.
Brian Ashburn (left), Jenna Riley, Colin Sullivan and Chelsea Holub, all Brainerd High School juniors and members of the debate team, earned a free trip to New York City July 16-21 to attend a United Nations Youth Summit. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
The 16-year-olds earned themselves a trip to a United Nations Youth Leadership Summit in New York City from July 16-21. They had entered a contest through ThePeopleSpeak.org, a U.N. campaign to get young people involved in global issues. The summit brings together about 350 student leaders and their teachers from all over the globe to learn about the U.N. and its work on addressing climate change.
Only the top 10 U.S. and top six international schools won a free trip for their four-student debate teams and two teachers to attend this summit while other teams will pay to attend. The BHS team placed ninth in the country, earning the team members the coveted trip. Their debate coaches, Dave Borash and Dave Pritschet, will go along as well.
"It still hasn't sunk in that we're going," said Sullivan. He and his three teammates have never been to New York City.
"I'm just so excited to go," said Holub. "We figured we'd be the team who got 11th."
"It'll be fun," said Riley.
"It's definitely worth the effort," added Ashburn.
The teens found out May 15 that they won the trip. They completed all their projects in March and April, which was tough because they all were enrolled in advanced placement courses and had exams to study for.
While the foursome is interested in the summit and its workshops, they also are excited to attend a Broadway play, visit Central Park and see the sights of Manhattan.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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