Posted on Jul 26, 2017
New Berlin Rotary, Rotary Club of New Berlin, World Affairs Seminar
From left: Nirali P., Teresa S., Kelly G. and club president Pat McLaughlin
World Affairs Seminar leaves lasting impression on local youth
Three of the six local high school students who attended World Affairs Seminar in June visited us on July 26. Each found it an amazing experience and now are inspired to carry on.
Kelly G.: A senior at New Berlin Eisenhower, Kelly "had no clue" what to expect from the event. But once she learned more about it, she became excited about going. "Some of the best experiences," she says, "come from not having expectations."
The various topics--racism, LGBTQ, inequality in education, and poverty and violence--sparked an interest in her. Interviewing delegates from other countries, Kelly discovered there are wide differences in the quality of education. She was particularly struck by the "oppression of Native Americans" in the Canadian school systems.
All the "intellectual conversations" she had with other student-delegates convinced Kelly that kids can have an impact. "I realized I can make a difference," she says.
World Affairs Seminar inspired her to become more involved in social issues. An aspiring writer, Kelly plans to start a blog to "get my voice out into the world."
Nirali P.: Nirali came away with three important lessons.
1. Change can happen at any time and by any one. A naturally skeptical 17-year-old, Nirali, who will be a senior at New Berlin West, wondered what effect her actions would have. She realized that even small tasks, like picking up trash, "potentially can change the world."
2. Education is not accessible to everyone, and it comes in different forms. "Not everyone has the opportunity to get an education like we do," she says. Interested in nutrition, she hopes to educate others on this important topic.
3. Being open to other people's perspectives "is not a bad thing." You can be passionate about your position but open to compromise, she says.
Nirali intends to use social media to discuss what she experienced and to promote World Affairs Seminar. She created videos of various projects; they are available for viewing on her Instagram and Twitter accounts. Long-term, she is committed to making her school and community a better place. 
"Thank you for sending me and the other delegates," she says. "It was very inspirational."
Teresa S.: Was "super excited" to attend WAS when she heard the theme was Education and Social Justice. A presentation on holistic teaching really impressed her.
Another lecture reviewed infant mortality rates in Milwaukee. "I was shocked at the high rate of infant mortality," she says. "Most kids live in poverty." Interested in working in the healthcare field, Teresa feels it would be important to come back and help her community.
Teresa has taken an important first step. An incoming senior at New Berlin West, she recently became a CNA (certified nursing assistant). Her immediate goal is to find employment in a nursing home.
Teresa is "incredibly grateful" for the opportunity to attend WAS, and plans to talk it up with her friends at school.
World Affairs Seminar is designed to create global leaders and citizens through an international seminar with an innovative, rigorous program. Held at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis., the program involves high school students from across the US and around the world. This is the fifth year that our club has sponsored students to WAS. (The School District of New Berlin also sponsors students.)
WAS is open to students of New Berlin West and New Berlin Eisenhower. If your child is interested in applying for the 2018 session, have him or her speak with the school's guidance counselor.