Metea hosts citywide soapbox competition

Students from Metea Valley, Waubonsie Valley, Aurora East, Aurora West, and Oswego East High schools came together last week for the Aurora Soapbox held by the organization Mikva Challenge. Students were selected from various classes to give “soapbox speeches”, two-minute speeches on issues they found important.

“It brings in a bunch of different students to give soapbox speeches on things they’re passionate about, things that they think society needs to change or improve, its really just a way to get people to look their own society around them and be able to say here I am intellectually thinking about this and here is what we need to change.” said Metea Valley senior Michael Miller.

After splitting into four different breakout rooms, students delivered speeches before a panel of judges consisting of officials and public figures in the Aurora area. The judges, in turn, had the opportunity to hear about issues impacting local youth.

The purpose of the challenge is, as chief development officer of Mikva Challenge, Kelly Rolf, explained, is to amplify youth voice and empower young people to be more active in their respective societies.

“What that means for us is really helping connect young people to unique hands-on opportunities to participate in civic life now, and build up their leadership and workplace skills so that when they leave Mikva Challenge they’re ready to be advocates and ambassadors for the things most important to them out in the world,” said Rolf.

The organization, which was founded in Chicago 19 years ago, has since expanded to southern California and Washington D.C., serving teachers all across the country and engaging about 15,000 youth a year in their civic engagement programs.