On April 9th six eager teams sat in Huntsman Hall at the University of Pennsylvania ready to present their idea- a challenge presented to them by the first annual School Fund High School Case Competition, initiated by TSF’s newest branch at the University of Pennsylvania. The intention of this competition was to give students the opportunity to combine skills learned in the classroom with creative visionary thinking to create a tangible plan that will improve the effectiveness of TSF, hence improving the lives of students in Tanzania. Furthermore, it exposed the participants to a wide array of topics such as education, international relations, and non-profit work. Each team was presented with a “case de-briefing” with background information on the topic and the ultimate prompt they tackled was:
The School Fund currently provides students with the funding needed in order to attend school. What other action or initiative can this organization take to ensure that these students’ education is of high quality?
The teams represented J.R. Masterman School, Kensington Urban High School, Parkway Center City High School, and Tacony Academy Charter School. Teachers, parents and staff members also attended to support these students and listen to their creative solutions. Furthermore, a panel of three judges, Courtney Henry, Samir Malik and James Wilson brought real world experience to share with the students. Participants ranged from freshmen to seniors, each bringing with them years in public Philadelphia high schools that gave them invaluable insight on the identification of necessary resources to create quality education. They then had to take this insight and creatively implement it to a third world country, which they had done a plethora of research on.
Sahil Singhal and Troy Spruill from JR Masterman High School came in first place. Similar to all other teams, after a 10 minute presentation, they participated in a 5 minute Q&A session with the judges where they were forced to consider some components of their plan that they may have not thought of before. Overall, the competition was very difficult and all teams presented impressive and well thought out ideas!
While the competition’s main goal was to engage students in the important discourse concerning international education, the students’ presentations reminded us all just how difficult it is to provide high quality education. The School Fund has certainly listened to their ideas and is looking forward to incorporating them into future growth plans.