Tournament of Champions 2018
by Simran Agarwal, Year 7
On the 16 November, Hilary Jenkins, Emma Lagerberg, Meg Duthie and I found ourselves sitting in Yale University’s Shubert Theatre, excitedly awaiting the start of the 2018 Tournament of Champions. It marked the finale of the World Scholar’s Cup for the year – a competition between ‘the best of the best’.
The trip to New Haven itself was not all that interesting. It consisted of nearly 20 hours of flying, binge watching movies and ending up far too tired to do much more than grumpily pile into a shuttle bus and try to finally get some sleep.
The day before the competition consisted mostly of shopping for basic necessities (marshmallow fluff, mega Oreos, Kool-Aid and flamin’ hot Cheetos, to name a few) and admiring a few of the many museums that the city of New Haven has to offer. After a brief, yet aggressive snowball fight that saw us all drenched and freezing, it was time for a late-night swim and, of course, some last minute revision.
Day one of the World Scholar’s Cup saw the opening ceremony delayed by over two hours as buses got held up in the snow that had fallen the night before. The scavenge that followed consisted of trudging through the slushy snow, completing absurd tasks, such as asking a Yale student how to get into Harvard, singing Havana with your teammates, doing the floss whilst another teammate did 30 push-ups and reciting a love poem to an alpaca. The day drew to a close with a dinner of burgers and pizza in a Yale dining hall, a place usually exclusive to the University students only.
The second day saw us split into our teams; the three Year 8 girls in one and me with two girls from Perth in the other. We then took part in the Scholar’s Challenge, wrote essays on what the main goal of diplomacy should be and debated whether or not it’s okay to lie to your partner. Hilary, Meg and Emma won one debate, and my own team managed to win two.
Day three found us taking part in the Scholar’s Bowl, the final academic event of the competition. We then had the opportunity to watch and learn as the best debaters took to the stage for an extremely heated debate showcase. The stand out of the talent show that followed was a Malaysian student dancing to no fewer than two K-pop songs that left Emma red in the face with a sore throat from screaming too much. We closed the day with the ball, ending up half-deaf from the loud music.
On day four, we braved the freezing cold and toured Quincey Market, wandered around Boston and visited both MIT and Harvard University; we finished with warm cookies and a bag full of Harvard merchandise. The cultural fair was an event to behold, dozens of stalls from across the world, boasting the cultural highlights of each. By the end, each of us was full to bursting with food and weighed down with souvenirs.
The last day of World Scholar’s Cup for 2018 came faster than we had expected and, with it, the closing ceremony. The few short hours in which everything that we had worked so hard for over the course of the year would come to a conclusion. Before that, however, we decided to make the most of our time and took a tour of the campus, marvelling at the libraries in particular. Then came the ceremony. We packed into Woolsey Hall and anxiously waited for the final event to begin. The 2018 Tournament of Champions was the biggest and most diverse one yet, with over 1300 scholars in the Junior Division alone, representing 58 different countries. So, as expected the flag march was long but ended with a spectacular display when 58 flags were raised by their proud flagbearers and waved in the air. By the end of the ceremony, we had a Clarendon total of 24 medals (and one keychain, for my team winning the scavenge).
Emma racked up four medals.
Meg got five.
Hilary picked up three.
And I, somehow, got 12 and came 39th overall.
More importantly, we all had the time of our lives, meeting so many new people from so many new places. Our thanks go to all of our teachers, in particular Ms Ball and Ms Moriarty, for helping us through the Regional and Global Rounds and to our parents for taking us to Tournament of Champions. We are truly lucky to have had this amazing opportunity, which I am sure we will all cherish for many years to come.