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The World Scholar’s Cup

This year, I have had the privilege of running the World Scholar’s ECA.  This ECA requires students to research and revise a range of material covering a variety of subject areas: history, art, music, science, social studies, literature and a special area (entitled ‘Unsolved Mysteries’).

Students are put into teams of three and work assiduously on all the subject content, in a relatively short space of time, in order to prepare themselves for the World Scholar’s Cup (WSC). The format of the WSC is both detailed and demanding, as students engage in the following assessed activities: a team debate, independent and collaborative essay writing, a 120-question multiple-choice exam known as the Scholar’s Challenge, and finally the Scholar’s Bowl in which team members work together to answer multiple-choice questions displayed on a large screen.

Last weekend, myself, Mr Flynn and Ms Barakat took 11 teams from DESC to the WSC Regional Round. The competition consisted of some 800 scholars from 40 schools in the UAE and was held over both days of the weekend: in Sunmarke School (Jumeirah) on Friday and in The Indian High School (Oud Metha) on Saturday. It was, I am delighted to say, a great success, and among the many highlights were the following:

  • All 11 DESC teams qualified for the Global Round
  • Every DESC student won a medal within the first few minutes of the awards ceremony
  • Alex Howe (Year 12) won six gold medals out of six for the Scholar’s Challenge
  • Nora Gergab (Year 11) won best debater out of all 800 scholars
  • Roudha Almani Alfalasi (Year 13) was a member of the mixed team that won best team in the whole competition.
  • No fewer than seven out of the top ten senior scholars in the whole competition were from DESC!

All of our students were a real credit to the College, not only in terms of their achievements, but also in terms of their conduct throughout the competition; Mr Flynn, Ms Barakat and I were naturally very proud of them. Moreover, I was impressed by the way in which they collaborated and cooperated so well with each other, and the manner in which they embraced the various challenges that came their way, perhaps especially that of balancing rigorous WSC study with a busy term of schoolwork.

World Scholar’s offers multiple benefits to students, such as the opportunity to meet so many new people, to increase knowledge in a range of interesting and useful ways and to develop skills like teamwork, debating, leadership, problem solving and resilience. However, what must acknowledged above all, in my view, is just how inspiring the students’ efforts and achievements are – inspiring for the students themselves, of course, as they increase confidence in so many areas that can have a lasting impact on their development, but also inspiring for anyone who hears this story. The message is surely to reflect on how much can be achieved with a positive approach, diligence and meticulous hard work and the fact that a team really can be greater than the sum of its parts, however gifted those parts may be.

My most sincere congratulations, once again, to all students involved in World Scholar’s.

Matthew Nicholson

Teacher of MFL and World Scholar’s Leader

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