As lockdown and quarantine brought forth another monotonous week in our lives, the students of Garden High School had something special to look forward to thanks to The Heritage School. 12th and 13th September 2020 were marked as the days when the Phoenix would rise again, branding the sky with her “insignia of ingenuity”. After a month of auditions, preparations and practices led by Student Representatives Pritika Paul (XII – A) and Richik Chakraborty (XII – A), the school team was ready and waiting for the 11th edition of Youthopia to begin in full swing.
The events were divided into subcategories – live events and video events. The live events we participated in were: debate, creative writing, quiz, GPS This and chess while their video counterparts were: western music, eastern dance and poster making. The live events took place on Discord, a server-based application for audio and video calling and communication, and were also live-streamed on their official website.
Due to a large crowd of participating schools from all over the world, preliminary rounds were held on the 10th for the debate and quiz competitions. War of Wits i.e. the debate prelims saw Garden High School qualifying for the final rounds after 4 hours of deliberation with top debaters from schools across the country. However, fate was not as kind to the participants of Qurious (quiz) as the quiz team comprising Shubhrajit and Abhrajit Bhattacharyya with Monoshij Ghosh as reserve and coached by Ms. Nabanita Ghosh and Ms. Paromita Datta could not qualify for the final rounds despite a valiant effort.
Once the preliminary rounds were over, it was time for the final two days of the fest. After a short opening ceremony over a Zoom meeting, things started off in rapid pace, with the first competition being Battle of Brains – the chess event. The single player event played online over chess.com was well-matched and conquered by Aniruddh Chatterjee of class 10 C, who managed to secure the 1st position.
In the meantime, submission deadline for Brilliant Brushes i.e. the poster making event was around the corner. Dishari Chowdhury of class 10 B presented a beautiful display of vibrant colors conveying the message “If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters”. We sincerely appreciate art-teacher Mr. Subhabrata Nandi for helping us with the selection process.
We’ve all heard of the saying “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Well now it was time for the participants to prove it as Write to Ignite – the creative writing event, was underway. The team consisted of Pritika Paul of class 12 A for English, Anuratna Banerjee of class 9 E for Bengali and Nirjar Datta of class 9 C for Hindi. We would like to extend our gratitude to teachers Ms. Papiya Ghosh, Ms. Jayanti Roy, Ms. Arpita Mukhopaddhay Maiti, Ms. Saswati Mitra and Ms. Sharmistha Gorai Biswas for helping us in the auditioning process.
Pritika Paul secured the 1st position in the English category.
However, our dose of art for the day was not yet over. The submissions for Raas Ranjini – the event dedicated to Eastern Dance were coming through rapidly. The participants: Sneha De (10 E), Rajanya Dhar (9 A), Ahana Majumdar (10 B), Sheersha Banerjee (9 A), Samriddhi Ghosh (12 B), Shreya Sutradhar (11 C), Krityali Sau (9 D) as dancers and Soumili Hazra (9 A) as video editor, led by teacher Ms. Meghna Guha Mazumdar presented a beautiful display of talent. Their theme – An ode to the sheer courage and strength of women. The dancers, with the help of our video editor centered their performance around the likes of Razia Sultana, Rani Laxmibai, Kadambini Devi and other celebrated icons of womanhood. Besides the praise and appreciation of even their competitors, they also won the 3rd prize.
The first day of the fest concluded with GPS This – the treasure hunt event. This event, exclusive to the school representatives, tested the intelligence, logic and problem-solving skills of those in charge of leading the school team. Garden High School fared quite well, placing 3rd in the race to finding the final solution.
The second day was not as event heavy on our students, with only two scheduled events during the day for the participants.
The first among them was War of Wits – the debate competition. The participants Rannvijay Roy of class 9 A and Richik Chakraborty of class 12 A, helped throughout by reserve speakers Sheersha Banerjee of class 9 A and Sanjeevani Sen of class 12 B as well as teachers Ms. Trina Das Gupta, Ms. Ronjini Bose Correia and Ms. Crystal Fang, went head to head with schools not just across the country, but across the globe. Unfortunately, in spite of an excellent effort the debate team were unable to place in the top 3.
The team for western music brought to this journey a different melody and joy through Synthesize – the western music event. The group comprising Olivia Bagchi and Sarthak Dey as vocalists, Sayan Bhowmik as guitarist, Shounak Das for keyboard and composition and Aatmashri Sanyal as video editor put up an excellent performance. The team fused beautifully the songs My Melancholy Blues by Queen and Perfect by Ed Sheeran, under the guidance of teachers Mr. Anupam Halder and Mr. Gourab Sen.
With colours, literature and melody; wit, knowledge and intellect the arduous but fulfilling two days came to an end. From creativity to intelligence, ready-wit to knowledge, the students were faced with all sorts of challenges. However, with their steady will power, booming confidence and well-honed skill, our participants rose above all challenges and answered all questions that were asked of them through the course of this fest.
Garden High School would like to congratulate every participant for their contribution to the fest and can say with confidence that it has been a thoroughly enriching experience for all of us. We also appreciate all our students who have burnt the midnight oil and have worked tirelessly for days and weeks for the cause of the school team. Special thanks to all teachers involved in the fest proceedings and The Heritage School for providing us with this opportunity.
Regardless of the results, we believe all students have received important lessons in teamwork, collaboration and communication besides learning something new about their skill. The fundamental prize of all competition is not just the awards you win, but the knowledge you gain from it.
Note – All submissions of the video events are accessible from the following link: