With global Covid-19 pandemic now over, 2023 has seen the return of many events, and one of the them has been the World Scholars Cup (WSC). This worldwide English research/speaking/writing competition-networking event for primary and high school students has become very popular over the years. And the Jakarta high school regional round held recently from May 6-8 proved to be no exception, with more than 1,300 student participants from numerous schools across the Jabodetabek area.
GSPI sent 10 teams of 3 students to take part this year - 6 in the Junior or Lower Secondary, and 4 in the Senior or Upper Secondary categories - and they all had an exciting and enriching experience. Sister school GSPM also participated, with 7 teams in total.
The whole process for GSPI actually started late in Semester 1 in 2022, when the students who signed up (or were recommended) for the WSC began their training sessions under the watchful eye and guidance of several of the teachers. Using the materials and links provided online by the WSC organisers, the teachers conducted theory lessons and practical sessions for the students, in team debates, collaborative writing and quizzes (which are the various elements that would be tested in the WSC). As Semester 2 arrived, the training was stepped in frequency and intensity and by April, it was being conducted every day.
Soon after the Lebaran holidays, the competition days finally arrived. The preliminary rounds on Days 1 (for Seniors) and 2 (for Juniors) on May 6 and 7 were held in the Penabur International School in Kelapa Gading, while the final combined round and awarding of medals and trophies on Day 3 (May 8) was hosted in the Ciputra Artpreneur Theatre in Lotte Mall. They all proved to be long and activity-filled days.
Days 1 and 2 lasted from about 8am till 5-6pm. The Senior teams on the first day, and the Juniors on the second day, competed against other school teams in three of the four different judged components of the WSC (Team Debates, Collaborative Writing and Scholars’ Quiz) to determine their overall marks and rankings. The teachers were not spared from some hard work; we all had to help as adjudicators/judges for the debates, both in the mornings and afternoons. It was mentally (and surprisingly, a little physically) tiring for all involved, but also interesting and rewarding, especially with meeting and interacting with students from many different schools.
The final day – Day 3 - started a little later (9am), but would end much later, close to 11pm. This was due not only to the sheer number of participants in this Jakarta round, but also because of the activities that were held.
As is typical for a WSC regional round, the final judged component - the Scholars’ Bowl - was held for all the teams in the Artpreneur Theatre in the morning. This was also when the most sought-after souvenir of the WSC was given out to all the participating students. These were of course the soft toys in the form of the South American animal that is the mascot of the WSC - the alpaca. Admittedly cute, and in many different colours and a few different sizes, these toys have become a prized status symbol and collectors’ item for WSC competitors worldwide, and it was the same in Jakarta, with students eagerly clamouring for them and looking to exchange what they got for ones they liked better, or just to try and collect even more of them.
After lunch on Day 3, the entertaining Show Debate took place on stage between two high-quality teams of 4 debaters each, selected from students from various schools who had impressed in the debates the previous two days. And following the dinner break, came the final and most-awaited event of the regional round – the awarding of the prizes, medals and trophies.
A huge number of awards were given out, for the top 20-50 (depending on the event) in all the various team and individual competitions, and also in some special categories. There were enough prizes that almost all of the participants received something. Each of the GSPI students got at least one award, and most got multiple. In total, GSPI received 56 golds, 67 silvers and 1 group trophy (The GSPM teams also gained a similar number, if not more).
As the names of the prize winners were displayed on the large auditorium screen, while also being announced by the WSC host/organiser, there were constant screams of delight and excitement as participants rushed forward to receive their awards. This went on for more than 3 hours until the final award was given, and subsequently the names and numbers of all the teams that qualified for the Global Round were read out. After the top 20-30 teams for Juniors and Seniors were mentioned (2 GSPI and 3 GSPM teams featured in this top performing list), the remaining qualifiers were told to the audience. To everyone’s pleasant surprise, almost all the teams present were eligible to take part. This last announcement brought the regional round to a satisfying conclusion, as all the students, teachers and parents spilled out into the rainy Jakarta night to return home – tired due to the late hour, but happy.
Overall, those were the prevailing sentiments of this Jakarta WSC Regional Round – happiness and satisfaction. Though each day was long and somewhat tiring, and some of the organisation could be better and the activities a little less strange (or even silly), the students by and large found joy and fulfilment from the whole event, and their achievements. In its final outcome, this round certainly lived up to the WSC ethos of celebrating diversity, community and friendship.
Best wishes to GSPI/GSPM teams going for the Global Round on Bangkok in August (and the GSPM teams attending the Seoul Global Round in July). Hope everyone will have a wonderful experience, and be able to attain more honour for themselves and Global Sevilla Schools!
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