Our Year One Scholars' journeys started back in September 2018. Click here to read about their performance at the previous round of the World Scholar's Cup competition.
A Moment of Respite
After sweeping the Regional Round in Vancouver, PACE Scholars took a moment to celebrate their achievements and growth in the past year. Afterwards, they continued to refine their skills and sharpen their knowledge in preparation for the next level of competition, the Global Round. As the school year came to an end, some scholars prepared from the comfort of their homes, while others studied from half-way across the globe. Despite this distance, every scholar stayed in touch and found the time for online meetings to listen and participate in weekly debates.
A few days before the competition, our scholars packed their bags and rendezvoused in Sydney, Australia. Scholars who hadn't seen their teammates in months shared hugs of excitement upon meeting again. Everyone would spend the few remaining free days studying and walking around Sydney together, enjoying a short moment of leisure and respite before the competition.
Effort and Success
The first day of competition consisted of three events: Team Debate, Collaborative Writing, and Scholar's Challenge. Scholars would work with their teammates to plan and deliver speeches based on three different topics in Team Debate, tackle three different essay prompts in Collaborative Writing, and flex their knowledge of the curriculum in the Scholar's Challenge. The 10 hour day was, without a doubt, arduous. Despite this, our scholars came out in high spirits with enough energy to continue discussing the events with their teammates and peers. On the second day of competition, scholars competed with their team in the Scholar's Bowl- a test of collective knowledge and strategy.
With the competition coming to an end, everyone could finally unwind as they wait for the results of their year-long effort. During the awards ceremony, the PACE congregation quietly watched as hundreds of names flashed across the projector. While some scholars were confident that they would see their name, others were still unsure. When the first PACE student's name was called, PACE scholars, coaches, and parents erupted in cheers and applause. All 21 of our scholars would walk the stage multiple times, receiving awards in recognition of their hard work. All 21 scholars would return to high-fives and hugs from their peers, coaches, and parents. As their names continued to plaster across the screen, an echo could be heard from the stage-
"And the Asimov Scholar is..."
Art Yu (gr 7) wins two Asimov Awards in his first year of competition! The Asimov Award is a prestigious award given to the highest achieving scholar in the Scholar's Challenge, representing that scholar's vast knowledge and understanding of the World Scholar's Cup curriculum. Art's team, Keven Pi (Gr 6) and William Jiang (Gr 7), also won 2nd place in Team Challenge, 4 top 10 trophies, 29 gold medals, and 10 silver medals collectively.
The deafening cheers for Art's achievement was followed by more deafening cheers from the PACE congregation, highlighting the achievement of the other teams:
Angela Lu (Gr 8) won the honor of being the flag-bearer and junior representative for Canada, placing 4th in the overall individual ranking. Her team, Coco Li (Gr 8) and Jennifer Zhang (Gr 8), also won 3rd Team Challenge and 3rd in the overall team placements, bringing home four top 10 trophies collectively.
Nathan Lin (Gr 6) took 1st place in the Literature category of the Team Challenge event, beating out 1500 other scholars from around the world. His team, Elvin Sun (Gr 7) and Alex Zhu (Gr 7), placed 25th in the overall team ranking.
Calvin Liu (Gr 7), Alec Situ (Gr 8), and David Huang (Gr 8) won 29 gold and 9 silver medals collectively, also claiming a 6th place trophy in Team Challenge and placing 13th in Collaborative Writing.
Sunny Liu (Gr 7) placed 48th in a individual debate. Her team, Alice Wang (Gr 7) and Ruobing Zhuo (Gr 7), won 7 gold and 15 silver medals as well as placing 62nd in Team Debate.
Jason Ma (Gr 8), Jet Li (Gr 6), and Brandon Irawan (our honorary PACE Scholar from Australia) won 6 gold and 6 silver medals collectively.
Lotus Lei (Gr 5) won a gold medal in the Skittles Division (under 11 years old). Her team, Ethan Wang (Gr 6) and Larry Jin (Gr 6) won 5 gold and 3 silver medals collectively.
Below is a shortened list of our scholar's collective achievement.
Team placements are out of 500, individual placements are out of 1500.
Team: 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 37th, ...
Individual (Art): 3rd, 9th, 18th, 22nd, 43rd, 44th, 45th, 89th, ...
Individual (Socials): 1st, 6th, 8th, 17th, 48th, 58th, 86th, 87th, 89th, ...
Individual (History): 1st, 18th, 44th, 54th, 83rd, ...
Individual (Literature): 1st, 5th, 10th, 19th, 25th, 30th, 58th, 77th, 78th, 79th, ...
Individual (Science): 13th, 14th, 27th, 63rd, 67th, 88th, ...
Individual (Special Area): 2nd, 8th, 20th, 24th, 29th, 38th, 45th, 55th, 97th, ...
Individual (All Subjects): 1st, 4th, 6 students in top 5%, ...
Team: 28th, 62nd, ...
Individual: 12th, 48th, ...
Team: 3th, 14th, 82nd, ...
Individual: 50th, 91st, 97th, ...
7th, 9th, 15th, 77th, ...
Team: 3rd, 7th, 25th, 29th, ...
Individual: 4th, 16th, 40th, 42nd, 49th, 50th, 57th, 76th, ...
Travelling across the world with your friends isn't an everyday occurrence. So we tried to make the most out of the journey. Lili Zhang, PACE co-founder, planned fun events for every day of the trip to ensure that it would be an eventful one. From climbing the Sydney Habour Bridge, to snorkeling at the Great Barrier reef, to flying 3000 metres in a hot hair balloon in Cairns, every passing day was another highlight reel of memories for the scholars, their friends, and their parents.
The first item on our long itinerary was a tour of the Sydney Opera House! This architectural wonder stands atop the land that once housed Fort Macquarie, overlooking the beautiful Sydney Habour. The next day, we returned to climb the Sydney Habour Bridge- another architectural wonder and the largest steel arch bridge. The bridge climb was an exhilarating experience that took our scholars to the very peak of the bridge. From here, scholars could see the Sydney Opera House on one side and a beautiful sunset on the other. On the last day before the competition, scholars visited Blue Mountains to see the Three Sisters rock formation.
Angela Lu would also spend some of this time teaching her peers the choreography in preparation for our Scholar's Show performance. Click here to see the full performance.
As the competition came to an end, everyone packed their bags for a celebration trip to Cairns. Upon arriving, we visited the Rainforestation Nature Park to explore Australian Aboriginal culture, throw boomerangs, learn about poisonous plants, and eat ants. Delicious. As the first day in Cairns came to an end, scholars engaged in a heated debate about whether to pour milk or cereal first. This totally-not-ridiculous debate would go on for two hours over dinner, reappearing to spark controversy over the duration of our stay in Cairns.
The next morning, scholars boarded a ship and headed to the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system, covering over 300,000 square kilometres. On the way, Keven Pi watched as his most prized possession, a limited-edition PACE hat, run away with the wind. Sorrow and despair could be seen in his eyes. He realized that he didn't just lose a priceless and fashionable possession, he also contributed heavily to climate change. Despite this lull in mood, Keven quickly got over his loss as he joined his friends in exploring the reef. The next day, we visited a zoo to hug koalas, feed kangaroos, and yell at parrots.
The last day. Most would spend it winding down, but not PACE. We spent it in a hot air balloon. As we floated 3000 metres in the air, nature blessed us with a wonderful landscape full of wild kangaroos and a breath-taking sunrise past the horizon. This blissful experience was occasionally interrupted by the occasional "LARRY, YOU'RE GOING TO DROP YOUR PHONE!" In the later half of the day, we went for a hike through the beautiful Daintree Rainforest.
And with that, our Australian adventures came to an end.
After returning home, our scholars reflect on their experience and give thanks to the PACE staff who organized the trip, coaches who led the excursions, and parents who volunteered as chaperones.
"I got to make friends from all over the world and made some of the best memories with the PACE Community. As a group, we would plan late night study sessions and stress over which challenge answer was correct. Late nights and early mornings during the competition were, without a doubt, tiring but in the end those physically and mentally demanding days were worth it. Everyone would scream and jump during the Award Ceremony when one of us won a medal and we found ourselves in a moment where all of our hard work paid off. WSC is truly an amazing experience to be part of and is so much more than a mere competition. It is a journey that you embark on where you will make some of the best friends and memories in your lifetime. You join a group of people with the same love and curiosity for knowledge as you and meet people from all over the globe. During this amazing experience, the PACE Community became a second family to me and are some of the best Hamilton-loving, pasta sampling, and alpaca hugging group of people that I have ever met."
"The trip to Australia was mostly fun, even after losing my PACE hat. You know that I could always get that hat back right? Well, anyways a life without the hat would still be fine... 'fine'. We went to the Sydney Opera House and did a bridge climb where we saw the beautiful city of Sydney during the sunset and where I got a free hat. The Sydney Global Round was definitely the best part of the trip, not only did we compete and perform Hamilton's 'My Shot' while flossing, we also tried to get David a girlfriend at the ball [no success]."
"Every moment was a highlight. It was an infinite highlight which didn’t end when we received our 45 medals and 4 trophies as a team on closing day, but instead continued and still continues to be a highlight in the form of the friends and memories we made. It continues in the form of countless ‘blackmail’ pictures taken of our fellow PACE Scholars as they dozed off contentedly on buses every day. Most prominently it continues in the form of my astonishment at how well our coaches (every bit deserving of Coach-of-the-Year awards) managed to put up with our nonsense, answer our endless questions and worries, and support us throughout our entire journey. So much of my team’s experience is the work of our excellent coaches, supportive parents, soothing Jerry’s, and stable chairs. To them we owe so many thanks, and to them we owe the privilege of this exciting week."
"The week and a half spent together made us closer. Even though we annoy Calvin and Rachel so much. In my opinion, PACE is not a group where I have friends in, but a group where I am free to express what I want, it’s like a second home to me. This road to Yale has been such a hard one, with ups and downs. We’ve laughed together, cried together, and got angry at each other. But at the end, we still know that our friendships have grown stronger. At the beginning of this journey, we all didn’t know what to expect, thinking stepping onto the platform at Yale would never happen. But here we are, (in a bush), proving ourselves wrong. Thank you for making globals such a rewarding trip, and without PACE, this trip would never be the same."
"Thank you Lili who helped us significantly during the trip to Sydney. During the days of the competition we would have to wake up early in the morning we would complain about how sleepy we are, however, Lili would wake up hours before us to make breakfast for us, she would also take time to plan for all of our events that were not part of the competition. Lili worked really hard to make sure we could have the best experience during our trip."
"All the coaches provided great support for the kids. Lisa found my sweater when I lost it at the cultural fair. When me and my teammate was locked outside the doors during the opening ceremony, Rachel came and rescued us. There’s also Calvin, who decided to eat rotten banana peels and moldy mushrooms after our success in the competition (I still have the video, it’s hilarious). He was in charge of our hotel room and called all of us “Sons of Russia”. Calvin also spent a whole hour helping the four of us in the hotel pack when we were going to Cairns, which was time when I put his shirt in my suitcase and brought it home with me and never realized until he texted me."
"Thank you Rachel, my FAVORITE coach in world scholars cup and Calvin. Apart from the subjects, you've put into a lot of time in training us with debate skills and writing skills. My writing skill got a huge improvement after going to an extra lesson that you made for people like me who couldn't write really well, it really makes my essay better (check the essay before the conformity topic and after, then you'll know how much I've improved). You've helped all of us become better debaters and writers. I can see many other students improving a lot since we first joined."
"No matter what, this trip will be an experience I will always cherish in my heart. We had gaming nights playing Super Smash Bros Ultimate, ate homemade breakfast, and studied together. Instead of feeling like a 'field trip' of sorts, it almost felt like a second home. We went on a bridge in Sydney, climbing to the very top, we saw some amazing views, learned about its history, and took some beautiful pictures! Then, we went on a boat (which I got seasick on) heading to the Great Barrier Reef and went snorkeling. We got to see all the fish up close, but I always got saltwater in my mouth."
"A total of 12 days in a foreign country, a 17 hours flight over the Pacific Ocean, with a group of all sorts of people. This trip contains some of my most memorable moments. The day when me, Sunny, and Alice won all three rounds of debate, we absolutely freaked out. The day when we went to Cairns and argued whether you should put cereal or milk in first. It was a pretty aggressive and ridiculous debate, but we literally talked about that for one hour straight, and it kind of still continued days after. Time always passes in a hurry when you had fun, the trip to Australia concluded in a blink of time."
"What I’ve learnt over these days, besides the academics, is that the people who point out your wrongs, yell at you, try and fix your mistakes, are the people that really care about you. Or else, why would they care? With this in mind I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody that was involved in planning and was involved in the trip. Thank you, Lisa, Paul, Lili, Rachel, Calvin, and Andrew in no specific order."
With the conclusion of Chapter 2: Globals, PACE Scholars will continue to work hard in preparation for the Tournament of Champions at Yale University in November.