LINCOLN – High school students from across Nebraska were strongly divided in choosing the most appropriate U.S. policy for dealing with foreign policy issues including immigration, environment, terrorism, poverty and human rights. Results were compiled from the 19th Capitol Forum on America’s Future, sponsored by Humanities Nebraska and Secretary of State John Gale.
Thirty-four percent of participating students said they preferred a foreign policy that focused on international cooperation by diplomacy, treaties, trade and U.S leadership of the United Nations to deal with security and global problems. Thirty-three percent of students advocated for a policy which would cut back on foreign involvement and primarily deal with the internal challenges of America, such as its economy, school systems, health care and protections against terrorism.
The third preference of students (21 percent) was a policy that focused on homeland security, halting the spread of nuclear weapons, cultivating key trade relationships and ensuring access to crucial raw materials. At 12 percent, the least favored policy was one calling for the U.S. to build a vibrant international economy that strengthens democracy abroad by following American political and economic principles and protects that system from threats.
Nearly 100 students, representing over 1,500 of their classmates, gave presentations and debated their various choices during a day-long event at the State Capitol on March 27, 2017. Prior to that, students studied a special curriculum focusing on a variety of international issues and potential responses to those issues. Students who took part in the program at the State Capitol then reported what they learned to their classmates in their home schools. Those students were also asked to select their top foreign policy choices.
In a ranking of top concerns, 41 percent of students said they were worried about nuclear, biological and chemical weapons ending up in the hands of terrorists. Students (39 percent) also admitted to worries about worldwide poverty, hunger and disease. Another top response (37 percent) had to do with the U.S draining its resources trying to solve the problems of other nations. Those three concerns have been at the top of student rankings for the past two years.
Capitol Forum is a Choices for the 21st Century project, an outreach educational program provided by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. In Nebraska the program is funded by the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the State of Nebraska
Additional information about Capitol Forum can be found at: http://humanitiesnebraska.org/.
List of Participating Schools, Students & Teachers
Ashland-Greenwood High School: Jake Reisen, Levi Hagen, Mickayla Yard, Halie Lewin (Teacher, Brian Petermann)
Bellevue West High School: Chase Scott, Samantha Anzures, Matthew Colwell, Torie Walenz, Cassie Wilson (Teacher, Brenna Dacey)
Duchesne Academy: Kristin Goertz, Vivian Caniglia, Lucy Peterson, Kandace Mack, Mallory Bretsen (Teacher, Heidi Reinhart)
Falls City High School: Sean Cochran, Elle Findlay, Zachary Petry, Kaley Santora (Teacher, Lori Rech)
Hampton High School: Christian Deepe; Caleb Dowling, McKenzie Doty, Dante Farris, Daniel Davis, Jr. (Teacher, Patrick Alexander)
Hastings High School: Emma Redinger, Maggie Nielsen, Haley Mazour, Joanna Lopez-Hernandez, Cole Shardelow (Teacher, Robert Kerr)
Hemingford High School: Anna Manning, Macee Buchheit, Riley Wobig, Madison Glendy, Tristen Laws (Teacher, Dave Chatelain)
Holdrege High School: Christian Newth, Rebecca Schulz, Alexis Olson, Austyn Perez, Jacee Pfeifer (Teacher, Chad Bailey)
Howells-Dodge High School: Simon Kristiansen, Dax VanLengen, Kalli Brester, Samantha Brester, Oscar Hernandez (Teacher, Scott Polacek)
Lincoln North Star High School: Noah Bolich, Camryn Ceradsky, Abdullah Hamad, Madison Miller, Ruben Aguilar (Teacher, Jace Ahlberg)
Louisville High School: Natalie Bauermeister, Lauren Downs, Erin Muntz, Lukas Sollberger, Rilee Holl (Teacher, Nicholas Bausch)
Nebraska Lutheran High School: Hannah Blum, Maria Mayoral, Grace Wobser, Noah Worster,Liam Barcel (Teacher, Miranda Maasz)
Norfolk High School: Priscilla Ochoa, Clayton Spray, Cheyenne Otten, Hannah Carhart (Teacher, Katherine Steinkamp)
Platteview High School: Hannah Canady, Connor McFayden, Sam Sparks, Heidi Strigenz, MacKenzie Heneger (Teacher, Jon Comine)
Stanton High School: Alyna Padilla, Parker Zach, Zaynab Kouatli, Issac Glaser, Natalie Matthies (Teacher, Jacob Blum)
Sterling High School: Alisha Fisher, Sheanna Stolz, Ben Hier, Daniel Schwenneker, Micah Erickson (Teacher, Arlo Wusk)
Waverly High School: Kareem Hafi, Cole Miller, Quinton Arnett, Serena Mueller, Tanner Lemrick (Teacher, Trent Goldsmith)
West Holt High School: Jake Judge, Anna Meyer, Chase Harrison, Emma Laible, Eddie Fredrick (Teacher, Chris Nemetz)
Wilcox-Hildreth High School: Michael Douglass, Rebecca Saathoff-Beck, Skylar Halsted, Caleb Springer, Taylor Martin (Teacher, Ken Meyers)
York High School: Nick Weskamp, Giacomo Suera, John Erwin, Sam Redfern, Kathleen Esser (Teacher, Jane Brogan)