To Yale and back
A group of youngsters recently brought laurels to Chennai at the World Scholar’s Cup finals held in Yale
Six school students from Chennai made it to the Tournament of Champions in Yale, having won multiple international rounds of quiz, debate and essay-writing on a host of subjects ranging from music to space exploration.
Despite tough competition from over 1,000 young minds from over 50 countries, the six — in two teams of three — made it to the top five worldwide and came 1st and 2nd in South Asia. Adam Mihir Libby, Siddarth Alexander Thomas and Tejas Narayan comprised the team titled ‘Communists’, which topped among South Asian nations and came third worldwide. Sibhi Aravindan, Nishka Srivastava and Vrinda Gopal made up the team christened ‘Alpaccas’, which ranked 2nd in South Asia and fourth worldwide. Libby also came second worldwide, individually.
The winners were trained by citybased institution A to Zee Creativity, which also brought eight other teams from Chennai to the top 20% at the final round in Yale, including Aditya Srinath, Vikram Chakravarthi, Rahelle Manoj, Aditya Bhasin, Tanushah Ramadass, Adesh Roberson, Tarush Ramdas, Rohan Roberson, Brahadeshwar, Adhya Bopanna, Aman Thadani, Sadhvika Ramji, Ananya Rao Atluri, Isha Tejasvi Suresh, Ganesh, Sanjana Kumar and Ram M Kripa.
If the six are to be believed, preparing for the final stage was a blast by itself, mainly because of “just the variety of subjects and how in-depth we have to go about random stuff that don’t seem like they should be interesting but are anyway,” as Thomas puts it. “Curing cancer and colonising Mars seem like pipe dreams, but when you go into the details, you find out that it’s all actually plausible,” he adds.
Thrilled with their victory, the six winners nevertheless insist that the experience, for them, was more about making friends than about the competition. Having met like-minded academic enthusiasts from countries as far-flung as the Philippines and Canada, and having found common ground — like an unbridled enthusiasm for Elon Musk’s latest inventions — with them appears to be more of a highlight than the shining trophies and glittering medals.
As Aravindan points out, after describing the stimulating conversations he had with this new-found friends from Israel, “The conversation doesn’t end with just what you know.”