By Emmy (Year 11)
Highlight of the day: Challenge the student inside you!
Do you consider yourself a challenger, but have no idea of how to challenge yourself
- The International School of The Hague has the answer.
We have almost come to the end of a fantastic school year of 2012 - 2013. This year has provided hundreds of students with opportunities to take part in various activities, help out within the community, and best of all: encourage every individual to express their talents and enthusiasm. One of the numerous after-school activities at ISH was Challenger: an enrichment programme designed to invite inspiring people from different professions to share their interest and knowledge with a group of regularly-attending students. This programme has been organized by Yarona Van der Horst; a hard-working educational counsellor who works at ISH as a Coordinator of Challenger project and who puts all her dedication to arrange for us lectures on a weekly Tuesday basis. Not only has Challenger been very informative, it has also been a great opportunity to meet other students, all with their own passions.
Explore the brain
The tight schedule of Challenger ensures that high quality lectures run from November to July. The students are introduced to subjects and tasks that broaden their capacity of thinking outside the box, and provide them with a better perspective on possible future careers. The range of specific areas covered is great, allowing everyone to explore what their best interests are. The programme was started off by Miroslav Zivkovic who taught the students about cryptography and the art of its secrecy. This was a superb start to Challenger: a well-structured lecture ensured that all got a chance to experiment with encryption and decryption- something we don’t get to do every day! Before leaving for the Christmas Holidays, Challenger students were also rewarded with a special lesson from Leah Studer, who as a professional chef taught how to make delicious holiday delicacies.Although Challenger is aimed as an interactive, educative and fun activity for students; it also requires some work; this includes evaluating. However, with such fascinating lessons, a few words don’t harm the students. From the feedback given, Challenger will be improved for the next year- an even better reason to join!
From a lesson with Kym Kettler- Paddock about Marketing and advertising, Challenger went off to explore the brain: how insights about the brain improves performance, and how neuroscience tries to understand it. These three lessons were so well established that the students were able to interpret the connections between these two topics, especially with the help of Anna Lorant and Prof Opher Dounchin, who thankfully were two of the great speakers that volunteered to participate in Challenger. Evidently, most students were amazed by how our brains and bodies function, thus a continuation with Mika Ben David Bauch gave an opportunity to learn about the insight of neurological rehabilitation and how humans experience it. To round off the topic of human anatomy and how our bodies work, Challenger offered a lesson about the importance of human microflora in establishing a healthy body and mind; something that really changes the way you think.
All Challenger students were obliged to help out with TEDx, an independently organised TED event held at The ISH. Several lessons were taken to prepare for the event, which in the end, turned out to be a huge success and gave the opportunity for the students to meet more inspiring speakers who shared their knowledge and opinions on certain aspects of their interest or occupation. A week after TEDx, the students went on a field trip to SES; a European satellite company which was scheduled for January, but was cancelled due to the bad weather. The lesson was led by Ludmila Naumova who also arranged for other workers within the company to speak. Not only was it fantastic to learn new things about space engineering, it was also a unique opportunity to visit a place that normally isn’t open to the general public.
I believe that Challenger is a great way for students to broaden their minds. Apart from being very interesting, you also get to learn things most people wouldn’t know, like: Why is the sky blue? Prof Ted Young was glad to tell us why.
A question for the reader: Do you think that all of Rembrandt’s paintings are his own? The latest lesson in Challenger revealed the chemistry of old master paintings; and about the handshake between the sciences and the humanities. Although some things in the lectures could have been elaborated more to allow some students to understand better; on the whole, all the lecturers spoke clearly, they had well-prepared presentations, interactive sessions, and the students even got to enjoy some very peculiar experiments. So are you a challenger, but you just can’t find a way to challenge yourself - this programme offers you the solution on a silver platter. You will meet numerous people from international backgrounds, and you are guaranteed an experience beyond regular school life!
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