YES Programs



Peers Compete in DIY Tic-Tac-Toe Competition

Three participants draw X's and O's on paper plates

By Medina Bilalli (YES 2019-2020, Kosovo, placed by Aspect Foundation in Canton, IL) 

The idea for a Tic-Tac-Toe competition simply came from the street, when I saw a few kids playing the game in my neighborhood one day. 

“That would be very fun to DIY the “Xs” and “Os” with glitter, recyclable materials, or even with pasta,” I thought. By designing my own game components, I could feel like I was using a personalized “game shirt.” In a way, those components could be unique and could represent me and my personality. 

This thought process soon inspired an event in partnership with American Corner Prishtina, called “Tic-Tac-Toe Competition.” The YES alumni community in Kosovo is always in close partnership with the American Corner, having done multiple activities together in the past. We worked together to find participants for the event, which took place at the American Corner’s space on February 3. 

Group of participants at a large round table

It was the first time this event took place, as few people in the area play Tic-Tac-Toe; making it a competition only made it more interesting.  

Using paper and plastic plates, all 14 high school participants tried to make their signature components. Some of them used different colors, markers, glitter, or even pencils. In the end, each participant had five Xs and five Os.   

Tic tac toe board taped on the group with paper plates

The Tic-Tac-Toe game might seem like it’s very easy to win, but the competition was really difficult, and it took the finalists a long time to decide who the winner was.  

“I think Era deserves to win because she went all the way to the final round and has the most wins out of all of us,” said Arti, one of Era’s opponents. “She is also very competitive, and nobody has a chance against her.” 

Era was chosen the winner and won a basket full of candy, chocolate, chips, and juice.   

Many participants said they enjoyed this little challenge, and they want to try it out with their friends during their free time. The YES alumni community in Kosovo plans to do more competitions like this in the near future.