An Emotional Roller-Coaster
Coach Rachel says it best in her recollection of the event: "an emotional roller-coaster". Our Scholars have been working since September of 2018 to prepare for this competition. On day one, it was clear that many not-quite-yet Scholars had next to zero experience with public speaking and structured writing.
Looking back, there was one not-quite-yet Scholar who stood out amongst the thirty-six new faces. When she was selected to represent her team in front of the entire class, anxiety could be seen in her fidgeting and heavy breathing. In an attempt to slow her racing heartbeat, she took a deep breath and whispered something to herself. As she prepared to leave the comfort of her group to face her anxiety, her teammates quietly cheered her on. Her coach gestured to her with thumbs up, as if to say that it’ll be okay.
“You got this.”
When her name flashed next to 57th in Debate, a confused yet ecstatic face leapt out of her seat. Nobody can say that 57th means nothing, because as she ran up to receive her medal, it was clear that it meant everything- it was proof that everything turned out okay.
For everyone, stacked on top of this lack of experience was a lack of familiarity. Some not-quite-yet Scholars could recognize one or two familiar faces, but for the most part, everyone was a stranger. There was one not-quite-yet Scholar who stood out amongst the rest as a stranger. While others chatted and worked, he just worked. As the others formed new friendships in their new teams, he was just in the team. The months would continue to race by.
“And our Asimov Award goes to...”
Although everybody knew that it would be him, the uproar that followed was no less intense. Mind-numbing cheers accompanied him as he walked the stage. When he returned to high-fives and hugs from his peers, one thing was clear- he was no longer “just in the team”, he was part of the community.
Leading up to the peak of this emotional roller-coaster, our not-quite-yet Scholars had laid everything on the table. At the peak, it became clear that our inexperienced and unfamiliar Scholars were long gone; replaced by a community of confident and capable minds.
“It was our first time at WSC and we didn't know where we were compared to others. As PACE was receiving more medals, the anxiety was washed away and all I felt was excitement. At last, our hard work has paid off! When I was receiving awards I didn't really have any emotions. My only thought was to see how well other people in PACE did. I was so proud of everyone else in PACE, we all tried our best and our hard work came out as amazing results. The feeling of being successful as a whole group is different than having one person succeed. To me, it doesn't matter how many medals I get, what matters is the sense of unity we have gained from this experience.”
The Results of Hard Work
The World Scholars Cup is a competition of multiple disciplines where students work in teams of 3 to compete across four events: Team Debate, Collaborative Writing, Scholar’s Challenge, and Scholar’s Bowl. Students’ speaking and writing skills are put to work in the Team Debate and Collaborative Writing event, respectively. However, speaking and writing skills alone isn’t enough; students are also expected to utilize their knowledge of the World Scholars curriculum in their debates and essays. The curriculum is comprised of six subject areas including social studies, history, science, arts & music, literature, and a special area that changes each year. This knowledge is tested in the Scholar’s Challenge and the Scholar’s Bowl, where students get to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of all six subject areas.
“Preparing for the regional round was one of the most exhausting, yet rewarding, pastimes I’ve taken to this year. My team and I spent countless hours going through the curriculum, watching the online lectures, editing the PACE Scholars Guide, and practising our writing and debate skills during club time. In the end, all our hard work paid off when the three of us walked out of Mulgrave with 7 silver medals and 34 gold medals, an overall 2nd Place team trophy. Most importantly, we walked out with the knowledge that we had supportive coaches and students beside us.”
PACE Scholars went into their first World Scholars Cup with an impressive showing, placing first in all subject areas and taking 33 of 60 gold medals (there are 10 gold medals for each subject area). Within this sea of gold medals is Art Yu. Art placed first in four subject areas, winning him the most prestigious award of the event: the Asimov Award. As exciting as this was, it was only the tip of the iceberg. Our Scholars would go on to place first in multiple events, sweep the top five individual scholars ranking, and winning 163 gold and 93 silver medals across the entire event.
Below is a shortened list of our Scholars’ performance.
Team: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, ... Individual (Art): 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, ... Individual (Socials): 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, ... Individual (History): 1st, 2nd, 4th, 10th, ... Individual (Literature): 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, ... Individual (Science): 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, ... Individual (Special Area): 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, ...
Individual (Asimov Award): Art Yu
Team: 4th, 7th, 10th, ... Individual: 6th, 8th, ...
Team: 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th, ... Individual: 1st, 3rd, 7th, ...
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, ...
Team: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, ...
Individual: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, ...
It’s not everyday that we see nine months of hard work pay off. The natural follow up to this success is celebration! As our Scholars wind down from this emotional high, they thank their coaches with a poorly (but very funny) edited video. The coaches may or may not have shed a few tears. The Scholars also reflected on their experience and growth in the past months. In a letter to their past self, Scholars wrote about their beginnings- a starting point that seemed aimless. In a letter to their future self, Scholars wrote about their direction towards a place that seems boundless.
“Not going to lie, it felt nice. For someone that has never received any type of award for anything, it was more than special. I knew that my peers, coaches and most importantly, my family would be proud of me. I've always doubted myself in these situations (and perhaps still do) but seeing that hard work paid off is like an indescribable feeling. That being said, there’s much more to come and much more to overcome.”
Feel-goods aside, there is much more to come and much more to overcome. All eleven PACE Scholar teams qualified for Globals, the next step of the competition. Although some Scholars won’t be competing, everyone will continue to work and refine their skills in the upcoming months.
Australia, here we come!