The World Scholar’s Cup is an international academic competition created by Daniel Berdichevsky. Daniel excelled at Academic Decathlons when he was a child. He actually holds the highest score ever in the American Academic Decathlon. These competitions filled him with confidence, curiosity, and an ever-growing love of learning. He strived to design an event that would inspire the same passion in other students. This desire was the birth of World Scholar’s Cup.
WSC is a multifaceted competition in which students operate in teams of three. Often, if two students from the same school are left without a final teammate, they are paired with a scholar from another school. WSC takes team collaboration to a new level. For each of the competitive matches, scholars are not required, but highly encouraged to work together. Debate is one of those matches. Instead of scholars debating alone, their team of three competes against another team of three. A resolution is proposed and each team is assigned Affirmative or Negative. Both sides alternate speakers (Aff. Neg. Aff. Neg. Aff. Neg.) and each speaker has only four minutes to persuade the adjudicator their points. One of HCAS' scholars, Jason Yang, was skilled enough to make it to the debate showcase! This is where all of the best debaters compete against each other in front of all delegations. Jason Yang won first place in the debate section in this competition!
The essay section of WSC is also somewhat collaborative. Students are given time before and after the writing period to cooperate with their teammates to design the best essay possible. Most students write a traditional five-paragraph essay, but some brave souls craft poems or short stories to prove their points. Scholars are judged on creativity, critical thinking, communication style, and their ability to answer the prompt.
There are two multiple-choice exam events in WSC and only one of those is collaborative. The Scholar’s Challenge is a solo paper-and-pencil exam that gives the term “multiple-choice” new meaning. Instead of being forced to select only one answer, students are given five choices and are allowed to select as many as they wish. The caveat is the number of points they receive is directly correlated to how many answers they select. If they select only one correct answer, they receive one full point. However, if they select two answers and one of them is correct, they only receive half credit and so on. The structure allows students to select all possible answers if they wish, but it’s understood that they’ll only receive a fifth of the credit they’d get if they only selected one correct answer. It is a brilliant way to teach kids to think outside the box, challenge themselves, and learn to trust their gut.
The other exam is the Scholar’s Bowl. This is where teams sit together in an auditorium and answer questions with a digital clicker instead of a pencil. Questions and answers are projected on a screen in front of scholars and they are given 10 seconds to collaborate and select a single answer. This event teaches teamwork, quick thinking, and executive functioning. All of the matches are designed to better prepare students for real-world decision-making.
Students are given subject guides that focus on six main topics: art, literature, history, science, social studies, and a special area. These topics concentrate on a central theme that changes every year. The 2020-2021 them is: A World Renewed. This specific theme taught students about the increasing danger of climate change, the strategies behind succession, the logic behind revamping songs and stories, as well as a plethora of other matters.
Because of COVID-19, the majority of WSC events were cancelled. Luckily, Taiwan’s swift tackle of the virus enabled HCAS to co-host a regional round of WSC with our sister school, Korrnell Academy. Roughly 200 students from 13 schools all over the island visited us to participate in this competition. Our 23 students gracefully represented our school and humbly accepted a multitude of awards and stuffed alpacas, the WSC mascot. Not only did they learn a lot and make tons of new friends, but they are also extremely proud of themselves. Demonstrating sportsmanship in every event, they represented our school with poise. All scholars are returning to WSC next year so keep an eye out for more awesome accomplishments!