Six BASIS.ed World Travelers From Shenzhen, to Bangkok, to New Haven

Six young scholars from BASIS International School Shenzhen will soon be enjoying a beautiful autumn… in New England.

The six continent-hopping students are actually two teams of three students each from BASIS.ed’s first international school, in Shenzhen, which begins its second academic year on August 15th. They’re New England-bound – specifically, headed to the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut – because they qualified for the 2016 World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions.

The World Scholar’s Cup is an academic competition in which teams of three students compete against other teams, in four events:

  • Scholar’s Challenge (an individual 60 minute, 120 question multiple choice exam)
  • Collaborative Writing (an exercise in argumentative essay-writing in which teammates collaborate on structure, but write individual essays, with time limits)
  • Team Debate (a collaborative exercise in which pro or con arguments are delivered individually)
  • Scholar’s Bowl (a team exercise in which teammates confer to answer multiple choice questions projected onto a large screen in a theater)

Three BASIS International School Shenzhen teams competed in the World Scholars Cup Global Round at the Bangkok Convention Center from June 26-30, 2016. Two of those three teams qualified for the Tournament of Champions to be held at Yale on November 18-21, 2016. Each of the BASIS International School Shenzhen teams competed in the Junior Division, which is for 14 year-olds, and under.

The New England-bound students from our Shenzhen school are:

Team Alexandra, Faye, and Melody: Alexandra Wang (6th grade), Faye Yu (8th grade), Melody Luo (7th grade)

Team Cynthia, Helen, and Newton: Cynthia Zhao (8th grade), Helen Chen (8th grade), Newton Liu (8th grade)

Shenzhen students (1)
Shenzhen students (2)
Shenzhen students (3)

“Excitement came at certain special times,” noted 6th grader Alexandra Wang about the Bangkok, Thailand competition. “The first time you met the team you’re going to debate against; the crucial moment when the judge decided which team won; the instant you saw a question you knew how to answer; the last time you see your essay as you hand it to the proctor. Though nervous, this excitement kept the tournament fun, and gave us hope.”

Besides the competitive event, teams had a chance to hang out and meet competing students during a long list of fun events.

“We gained numerous colorful memories,” said Alexandra’s teammate, 7th grader Melody Luo. “We feel a strong sense of pride for getting into the Yale round, and it feels good that we’re bringing honor to BASIS.ed! But the most important thing is that we, as a team, persevered. That feeling alone gave us a sense of achievement that will last forever.”

The teams were coached by BASIS International School Shenzhen English teacher Kate Davis, and math and economics teacher Osama Omer. Steven Howard, a 4th Grade Learnng Expert Teacher, and Xinglin Lii, a 3rd Grade LET, gamely served as chaperones for the Bangkok trip.

Any team is allowed to enter at the local level, and local level competitions are held worldwide, including in the United States.

“We entered the Shenzhen local competition and it consisted of more than 20 schools from Shenzhen, Hong Kong and the surrounding area,” says BASIS International School Shenzhen’s Rachel Zanardi. “We entered five teams into the 6th-8th grade junior division. All five of our teams qualified for the Global Round in Bangkok! However, only three could attend due to summer scheduling conflicts. And two of them are heading to Yale! Congratulations also to Team Charles, Oliver, and Steven, for making it to Bangkok!”

Each year, the World Scholar’s Cup is comprised of a theme. The theme in 2016 is “An Imperfect World”.

But the mission and vision of the World Scholar’s Cup is quite the opposite of “imperfection”. Since the WSC was founded in 2006, its goals have been “to motivate students of all backgrounds to discover new strengths and practice new skills” – as well as “to inspire a global community of future scholars and leaders.” The competitions, as well, foster an atmosphere of respect, collaboration, and learning.

For six BASIS International School Shenzhen students, and their many supporters in China and across the BASIS.ed network, the WSC seems to have done just that. Best of luck to our Shenzhen World Scholar’s Cup teams – who we hope can squeeze in some luxurious New England autumn-enjoying in between their scholarly endeavors. Bon voyage!

Phil Handler

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