Aotea scholars book trip to Cape Town
‘‘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.
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