Success at the Tournament of Champions, Yale University
Two teams of students set out for Yale University having qualified from tough regional and global rounds of the Junior World Scholars Cup (WSC) competition, hopeful of both a great experience and some medals in the season-ending Tournament of Champions (TOC).
The 16 hour flight from HK to JFK New York meant we could watch around 6 or 7 films, and also do a little studying on the way. We arrived in Shelton after a 2 hour bus journey. After a quick bite to eat, we got some sleep to be ready for the tour of MIT/Harvard the next day.
MIT was our first stop and was a fairly large campus. The AI centre was a very innovative design. Then we went down the road to Harvard, a much more traditional and historic campus layout. The oldest building on the campus, now has a mixture of offices and student accommodation. The afternoon was spent in historic Boston, in temperatures of around -6 degrees centigrade. For HK students – this was cold!
The next day was the first day of the tournament and so we set off in one of the USA iconic vehicles – the public school bus! There was very little room to put your legs on this bus and no seat belts! This was our transport for the next few journeys in and out of Yale University.
All 1200 students gathered in Brettel Hall in the middle of the Yale campus for the opening of the 2017 TOC. We were entertained by a wonderful student acapella group called Something Extra Yale.
The afternoon was taken up with the traditional scavenger hunt in and around New Haven and the Yale campus. All students went off into groups of 16 made up of students from the 50 different countries competing in the tournament. It was both chaos, and fun.
The campus at Yale was spectacular. The competition – teams of 3 in debate, writing and challenge questions from the curriculum entitled An Unlikely World – took place in several colleges over the next two days. Did our teams do well? You bet they did!
The Girls’ team of Gabriella, Madhavi and Tanisha from Year 9 gained a silver medal in the overall team competition, and together won 6 Gold and 15 Silver medals in all parts of the event. A fantastic haul for the first time at the event! They were particularly good in the debating part of the tournament.
The Boys’ team of Akash, Gabriel (Year 10) and Nicholas (Year 9) gained a Gold medal in the overall team event, finishing a remarkable 29th position from 400 teams. In total they took a haul of 15 Gold and 19 Silver medals between them. A special mention must go to Akash who finished in 65th place individually from the 1200 junior scholars, and the team finishing 5th equal in South-East Asia.
The final evening was spent having dinner with professor Alden Richards from Browns University, and an alumni of Yale, at Mory’s in New Haven which dates back to 1859. A nice way to finish a memorable few days in the USA.
What did the students think of the experience?
Akash : Overall, I thought it was a great experience and as well as having a lot of fun, I learned many new things on the way about everything from conspiracies to space missions. Along with that, I made many new friends from Slovenia, Bahrain, the UAE, Turkey and a few more countries. It was great going back and visiting the US and it was a really memorable experience that I can mention on my university application. My favourite part of the trip was visiting Boston and seeing MIT, Harvard and many other sites.