Ninth-Grade Historians Compete in Global Issues Ad Campaign Pitch-Off

For the second year in a row, our ninth-grade history classes created advertising agency pitches as part of their Global Issues Ad Campaign projects. The preliminary pitches took place in each ninth-grade history class on Wednesday, May 17, in front of several faculty and staff judges. Each judge evaluated the pitches and chose the one they thought was best. The winning group in each class section went on to compete in the finals in front of some celebrity guest judges—the MICDS Marketing & Communications team and two of last year’s student champions—on Tuesday, May 23.

“Ninth-grade students worked hard on this project to wrap up the year, and that hard work really showed in this year’s Pitch-Off,” said Dr. Tanya Roth, Upper School History Teacher. “It was exciting to see the ways that students are imagining how they might make a difference in the world around them.”

Leading up to delivering their pitches, in mid-April, students read about a selection of Global Issues from the United Nation’s website. “We tailored a list of about eight specific global issues: Climate Change, Ending Poverty, Gender Equality, Democracy, Disarmament, Health, Population, and Refugees. Students had the chance to rank their preferences and then were placed into different groups in each class,” said Roth.


Each group assumed the role of an advertising agency, and they were tasked with researching their global issue in several ways. They collaborated to create an ad campaign with a $100 million budget based on their research.

First, students worked together to create a timeline of how their global issue has affected different parts of the world in the last century, as well as a list of key terms. Next, the students each took a specific global region and conducted an in-depth analysis of that region’s geography, economy, culture, religion, politics, and demographics to better understand that place and how their global issue might affect it. They each selected three countries in their respective regions. After completing their analysis, the groups worked together to combine their information into a Global Analysis slideshow, prompting them to think about strategies for addressing their issue more concretely.

On Wednesday last week, the advertising agencies delivered their three-minute pitches in their individual classrooms. MICDS faculty members were enlisted as guest judges who picked the top pitch from each class. Then on Tuesday this week, the top pitch from each of the 11 classes were delivered in Brauer Auditorium in front of the entire ninth-grade class and esteemed judges from the MICDS Marketing & Communications Department as well as two former winners from last year’s pitch-off, Daniel Chen ’25 and Geoffray Lee ’25. The pitches were evaluated based on the chosen theme, rationale, mockup ad campaign, eye contact, posture, and delivery.

Congratulations to the following overall winner and category winners who received trophies on Wednesday:
  • Overall Winner: POP (Progressive Organization of Population) – Harper Carnahan ’26, Morgan Macam ’26, and Narya Phatak ’26
  • Population Category Winner: HPAW – Audrey Marino ’26 and Rio Sato ’26
  • Poverty Category Winner: Crea Co – Maddy Brooks ’26, Chloe Coughlin ’26, Lillian Joe ’26, and Charlotte Medler ’26
  • Refugee Category: DDE – Delaney Janes ’26, Sean Hogan ’26, Ian Zar ’26, and Shreyas Kota ’26
  • Miscellaneous Category: INEquality – Gigi Koster ’26, Aiyla Ahmad ’26, Lilia Oulamine ’26, and Nolan Jones ’26

One of the winning team members took the time to reflect on the overall challenge this global issues ad campaign project entailed. “Over the past six weeks, our group worked endlessly on finding an effective way to solve the global issue of population,” said Macam. “We found it very challenging at first as population is such a broad topic, making it difficult to focus on one particular issue within a population. I have definitely learned throughout this project that patience is key, as our group struggled to find a solution. It wasn’t until the last week of the project that we created our solution, giving us only a few days to prepare our presentation. When our team was announced as the winner, I was surprised. Everyone’s presentations were so great, and I really wasn’t sure who was going to win. Overall, it felt amazing to win, ending this history year on such a great note.”

Solving the population issue was also daunting to Phatak at first. She said, “Although the challenge of solving a global issue such as population initially seemed intimidating, our group worked together really well in order to come up with different solutions. This project pushed the limits of critical thinking, especially as part of a team, which will prove to be very useful later in life. After the late nights, insightful banter, and rehearsing, I am very happy to be sharing this victory with my team.”

Thank you to all of the ninth-grade historians for creating such proactive, creative, and polished campaigns focused on making the world a better place while taking on these very important issues!