On March 19 and 20, students participating in this year’s J8 competition gathered with teachers and alumni to discuss two important problems facing the world’s population, and ways in which they can be remedied.
The two roundtable discussions, held at the Bistro Café in Manzanita Hall, were held to help the students prepare their applications for the J8 competition. Harker has a high number of students participating this year – eight teams of four students each – and as such, US librarian Lauri Vaughan and US history teacher Carol Zink organized the meetings to give the students the opportunity to voice their ideas.
The March 19 discussions dealt with infectious diseases, while the March 20 meeting addressed the problem of global warming and energy use. Teachers attended the meetings to facilitate discourse, thus helping students to come up with creative, well-rounded solutions. “Teachers generally played devil’s advocate and challenged kids to address the issue from several directions to test their viability,” Vaughan said. “Needless to say, it was fascinating stuff! I was thrilled to see faculty from such a variety of disciplines (history, science, ethics, math, literature) participate.”
Faculty on hand for the infectious diseases meeting were Ramsay Westgate, John Heyes, Sue Smith and Dan Hudkins. Teachers present at the global warming discussion were Eric Nelson, Shaun Jahshan, Westgate, Smith and Victor Adler. Two of the eight winners of the 2007 J8 competition were also present: senior David Kastelman and alum Aarathi Minisandram ’08. The event was co-sponsored by Harker’s Junior States of America and Global Empowerment Organization.