Aotea schol­ars book trip to Cape Town

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PAUL

‘‘It was sur­pris­ing. We never ex­pected to win.’’

An aca­demic tour­na­ment that’s gain­ing trac­tion around the world will pro­vide three Porirua teens with the ul­ti­mate test.

The World Scholar’s Cup serves up top­ics such as con­spir­a­cies, fu­ture pre­dic­tions and mod­ern mytholo­gies for com­peti­tors to de­bate, write and be quizzed about.

Welling­ton and Auck­land hosted its in­au­gu­ral re­gional events re­cently with hun­dreds of stu­dents pit­ting their wits against each an­other.

For Aotea Col­lege stu­dents Jemma Brisk, 14, Kate Pow­ell, 14, and Cerys Poore, 13, it was their chance to shine.

They se­cured their place as the re­gional ju­nior di­vi­sion win­ners and, in do­ing so, booked them­selves a spot in the global round in Cape Town, South Africa from Au­gust 11-15.

Find­ing out the Year 9 stu­dents were also the coun­try’s top ju­nior per­form­ers was the cherry on top.

‘‘We were so good at de­bat­ing that we beat out other teams in three dif­fer­ent top­ics, even though it was mostly the first time we have de­bated,’’ Kate said

‘‘So, it was sur­pris­ing. We never ex­pected to win,’’ added Jemma.

The young­sters per­formed well in­di­vid­u­ally too, com­ing home from the Karori-based event with a haul of medals and tro­phies.

But they have put the cel­e­bra­tions be­hind them to set their sights on their next chal­lenge on an in­ter­na­tional stage.

Each week, the teens spend hours re­vis­ing, re­hears­ing, re­search­ing top­ics such as moon land­ings, what mo­ti­vates ex­treme con­spir­acy the­o­ries, and how a par­tic­u­lar art­work or mu­sic piece might re­late to the event’s theme, An Un­likely World.

They must also di­vide their time equally be­tween prac­tis­ing and fundrais­ing.

The bud­ding schol­ars need to raise about $19,500 for the five-day event’s reg­is­tra­tion fees, ac­com­mo­da­tion and air­fares.

Through sausage siz­zles, selling choco­lates and roti, and host­ing a bake stand, they have raised $3500.

The more pre­pared they were now, the more likely they were to reach their ul­mate goal of mak­ing it to the Amer­i­can fi­nal at Yale Univer­sity.

‘‘We did quite well at the re­gional round, but since we’re go­ing to a global event there is go­ing to be so many more peo­ple,’’ Kate said.

‘‘So, we might not be able to clean up as well as we did at the re­gional.’’

If that hap­pens, Cerys knows that they will at least come back from the South African leg of the cup with a few medals.

* If you would like to help the Aotea Col­lege stu­dents rep­re­sent New Zealand at the next stage of the World Scholar’s Cup in South Africa, visit givealit­tle.co.nz/cause/ poriru­a­world­schol­arscup.

PHOTO: JAMES PAUL/STUFF

There is no spare time for Kate Pow­ell, Jemma Brisk, and Cerys Poore as they re­search, re­vise and rehearse for their in­ter­na­tional chal­lenge. Jemma Brisk

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