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6, Mar 2019

Albert Einstein once said,“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” Learning has become too much about the stress and anxiety that you can handle or the grade you receive on tests that you crammed up but haven’t understood. But true learning is cherishing the questions that you have and understanding the answers that you find.The World Scholar’s Cup (WSC) is a community that has created a completely new and wholesome environment for those passionate about learning; it’s a program that teaches you to truly celebrate the journey to finding the answers to your questions.It focuses on learning and not competition, friendship and diversity amongst not just learners but also the colorful Alpacas.In the words of Victor Hugo,”WSC has opened a school door and closed a prison door”.


The first ever regional rounds of WSC was held in Kathmandu in February and as a learner. As one of the many enthusiastic participants of the event,I am eternally grateful for having been able to witness such a program. The program provides questions and prompts  from six different subject areas prior to the main event to all the participants for the latter’s preparation. These would feature later across 4 discrete events of the WSC: the scholars’ bowl, the scholars’ challenge,the team debate and collaborative writing . Every year, it introduces a theme closely intertwined with the affairs of the world.


During the opening ceremony on the first day, the hall was packed with learners and teams from various schools who were all waiting with anticipated breaths.We were all still a little puzzled about this new program yet equally eager to become part of it.The community we found ourselves surrounded with had become a warm and benevolent one,making us instantly feel welcome and at home.


The first program was collaborative writing where we discussed different topics with our team and write a persuasive essay.  The six topics that were provided covered a broad theme from ‘The importances of a toilet in the contemporary world’ to ‘The playing time profesional players receive in game’.The true challenge was to use the power of words to deliver our thoughts on a sheet of paper


Then followed the scholars’ challenge with MCQ’s that could have multiple answers. Many seemed to detest this second one even more. Questions about the world and its mysteries, historic art pieces and classic literature pieces had gotten everyone scratching their forehead as they tried to figure out whether the ‘Wow” signal was merely a computer error or a radio signal.


We finally moved on to our third program which was team debate. We were to debate with three different teams and on the basis of the judges decision we were to move up or down the “tree”. As a measure to eradicate any possible feelings of hostility between the affirmative and negative teams, the debates ended with a feedback session- one critique and two positive feedbacks. This WSC twist on a normal debate was extremely effective to reflect and improvise. The debate topics were vast and integrated contemporary issues that teams could easily argue for or against. The best debaters with the highest points were also selected for a debate showcase the next day. Two teams out of the four of the strongest debaters were chosen while more scholars were picked to become judges and declare either the affirmative or negative as the winner.


The final event was the super bowl, a game that required speed, astute and team work. A question would flash on the screen and teams would have to select the correct answer from their clicker. However, they’re not just your normal questions that end in an eroteme. These questions come from movie clips and skits. Midway through the bowl was the one moment everyone had been waiting for. It was time for the distribution of the alpacas. The fuzzy colorful creatures that lined up the stage were given to all the participants to take home. The room became amazingly vibrant and happy with scholars balancing their alpacas on their heads and taking selfies.


The closing ceremony hit off with the scholars show. Some skated for us,  others showed us their art and some sang a remix of Avicii's “Wake me up” and Trishala Gurung’s “Khani Hu Yamu”. The award ceremony followed the showcase and it was by far the bubbliest and liveliest award ceromony that I’ve ever witnessed. Each and every student was acknowledged for their talent, participation and hard work. The qualifiers for the Globals were also announced followed by cheers of joy from the teams who would now represent not just their schools but their Country in either Astana, Beijing, Durban, Hague, Manila or Sydney.


WSC Kathmandu ended with shouts of cheer, tinkle of medals, faces of glee and the longing to be able to recount every moment of the journey - a spectacular event that could not have been any more special.