May 8, 2017
By: Mr. MacDonald
On the weekend of April 22-23, 24 intrepid SUIS Pudong students, ranging in age from grade 6 to IGCSE-1, took part in the Shanghai Round of the World Scholar's Cup for the first time in the school's history. With hundreds of students from Shanghai and beyond in attendance, many of whom had competed in previous years, the event provided a great opportunity for these first-time students to test their ability against the top scholars in the region.
After the opening ceremony it was soon down to serious business, with three debates in three hours for the juniors, and the collaborative writing challenge for the seniors. Over the course of the two days, all students debated, wrote, answered individual quizzes and worked together in a team challenge, winning victories and suffering defeats along the way. A few students looked pretty shell-shocked at the end of the first day, not least after having come up against older and more experienced students from other schools in the debates.
In the end though, they needn't have worried - when the results were announced on Sunday evening, all of the students performed well enough to progress to the next round, in which they will compete against winning teams from the rest of the world in Hanoi, Athens or Cape Town. This is a truly remarkable achievement considering the students' lack of experience, and the whole school has been abuzz - the students' triumphant WeChat Moments posts soon spread the word when the results came out!
While all of the teams succeeded in making the global round, they have been reflecting carefully on how to do even better in future. Most students agreed that if they were going to do it again, they would need to prepare more thoroughly; many advised anyone taking part in future to make sure they definitely do this! There were a large range of thought-provoking and often unusual topics that go beyond the school curriculum, ranging from the history of conspiracy theories to the ethics of communicating with the dead, and accordingly, a number of students suggested that assigning different team members to different subjects a few weeks in advance would be highly beneficial preparation next time. In addition, several students are very keen to set up practice debating sessions after school.
Most importantly of all, the students all had a great time taking part. "It was the most excited I've ever felt about anything academic", "he best and funniest competition I've ever been to", "It was one of the most fun times in my life" and "that will be one of the best memories ever" were a few of the quotations the students made about their expericen.
Particular credit goes to Rina Mitsutsuka, who won a gold medal for being the school's top senior division, and Katie Zhang, who won an incredible 8 medals.
Well done to all who took part, and let's hope that the excellent example they set will inspire even more tudents to challenge themselves and to make the most of academic opportunities outside of school.