World Scholar's Cup

Friday, March 18, 2016 - By: Romy G, Allard ’17; Photo by Tegwyn C, Allard ’17

Ah, Saturday – ‘twas a day of sleep-in and in-house breakfast, or so I was told. I wouldn’t know, as I was one of Brentwood’s thirty-six debaters participating in Victoria’s first-ever World Scholar’s Cup event, consisting of four activities: collaborative writing, a multiple-choice test, a team debate, and the Scholar’s Bowl. The day began with a fun-filled opening ceremony in the lecture theatre, which was crammed with hundreds of colourful, soft alpacas (it isn’t as random as it sounds, I assure you; alpacas are the mascot of Scholar’s Cup) before we were released to begin the first challenge: writing.

In teams of three, we were tasked with choosing one of six topics, and writing a short, persuasive essay individually, using our team as an editing resource once we were finished. It required both a sharp mind and a quick pen, and when the forty minutes of writing were up, my hand had cramped into a position as if holding an invisible pen. With the first challenge cleared, we quickly moved on to the next – a fifty-minute-long, 120 question multiple choice test on six subjects, which ranged from 1957’s Avian Bird Flu to a song about how to make gravy to the Canadian Maple Syrup Heist. It tested our ability to jump swiftly from question to question, and how well we had retained the knowledge we had crammed into our minds the night before, but we made it out alive and were free to recharge our brains over lunch.

Afterwards, we launched straight into three rounds of debate, and discussed topics such as nootropics, lying in politics, and Canada’s role in the Syrian refugee crisis. Some won, some “lollipopped” (a gentler alternative to losing), but for all, it was gruelling, and tiring, and the quick-fire nature of the debates quickly made mental endurance a key aspect of the challenge. Our final challenge, a Jeopardy-style quiz bowl, commenced immediately after the debates. It was a fun event that required snappy decision making, as well as collaboration, and was the most spontaneous and lively challenge, as the rules and method of scoring kept changing, to keep us on our toes. After six rounds, we began the closing ceremonies, which mainly consisted of the announcement of the event’s many, many medallists.

Brentwood’s winners were many, so I’ll stick to a few honourable mentions: Delaney B was named Brentwood’s Top Scholar in the Senior Category, and Maya J received the same distinction within the Junior one. Both had the highest individual scores in their respective age groups, and racked up numerous other awards. Oliver B was the recipient of the Senior’s DaVinci Award, proof of his well-roundedness in the competition. And, while almost all of Brentwood’s teams qualified for the global rounds in Prague or Bangkok, one of our teams was also the number one Senior team in the competition, and was comprised of the illustrious David M, the literary-fiend Caitlin W, and the quick-minded Yasmeen G, all three of whom consistently scored well and topped the rankings.

The winning was indeed exciting and many of Brentwood’s debaters walked away with multiple medals, but what the day came down to, however, was learning. We all learnt new and interesting concepts, and despite the rapid-fire nature of the Cup, the focus of the day was most certainly the expansion of your own database of knowledge, and, of course, alpacas.

On a final note, the debate club would like to say a huge thank you to both the World Scholar’s Cup organisers, and our very own coaches, Mr. Bryant and Ms. Steele-MacInnis, for putting together this exciting, colourful, and educational event!

Romy G, Allard ’17; Photo by Tegwyn C, Allard ’17

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