The 13-year-old from Dubai won the top prize at the World Scholar’s Cup in Spain
'My hard work has paid off' — Indian teen wins top scholar award for UAE at international competition
A teenager from Dubai has beaten more than 3,000 students to win a highly coveted international award known as the World Scholar’s Cup.
Vishnumaya Deepakchandran, a ninth-grade pupil at Gems Modern Academy, saw off competition from around the world to win the junior category prize at the event in Barcelona, Spain.
The 13-year-old put her success down to months of hard work, including hours of debating practice, research and tough general knowledge quizzes.
Her contemporaries Abhay Sharma, Muktha Kaja and Rohit Vivek — also pupils at Gems Modern Academy — won the world championship team trophy in the junior category, placing the UAE school firmly on the map.
"Winning the top position was a great feeling," Vishnumaya said.
"I was representing my school, my team, and my country.
"I feel like my hard work has paid off and I’m also happy I was able to make my school and my coach proud."
The World Scholar's Cup is an international competition which focuses on bringing young minds together from all corners of the globe to discuss the burning issues of the day.
Pupils compete in four main events including essay writing, debating, an individual general knowledge quiz and a team quiz.
This year, 3,000 pupils from more than 55 countries took part in the competition.
Those involved had to debate against three teams from different countries, and based on individual and team points they were awarded ranks.
In the writing segment of the competition, pupils were asked to write a creative essay, while in the individual quiz they faced 120 questions on literature, science, social studies, history, art and music.
Aadit Palicha, Dheeraj Devarajan and Sachin Jude Fernando from IB Bridge of Gems Modern Academy won 10th place in the overall senior category.
Sumana Chatterjee, head of debating at Gems Modern Academy, said she was delighted by the win.
"The pupils didn't go home doing the summer holidays," she said. "They all stayed back and trained for the competition.
"We made sure we had a holistic programme in place. Their writing was tested by teachers and they also had intense debating practice."
Vishnumaya said: "The experience was really eye-opening. We met pupils from more than 50 countries and we learnt a lot about other cultures.
"Being in a room with children from so many different nationalities and schools was a wonderful feeling and I believe competitions of this kind help us develop a range of skill sets across competitive areas."
The girl's winning essay focused on whether parents should choose their children’s first friend. "In my essay, I developed themes of independence and the importance of individuality in our social interactions,” she said.
Abhay, a 14-year-old ninth-grader from India who was part of the winning team event, said: "It was such a proud moment for my team.
"Having lived in Dubai for 12 years, I've always enjoyed living in a multicultural society but interacting with a bigger group at WSC was an even better experience.
"Not only were we individually strong scholars but we worked well together as a team, and that's what helped us win."