Yesterday saw the conclusion of the first ever inter-school academic competition between pupils at Cranleigh and Cranleigh Abu Dhabi. The van Hasselt Award was launched by the humanities departments at Cranleigh in Spring 2019 to coincide with the official opening of the van Hasselt Centre. 

Each term, pupils from the school have been given a broad topic outline and been tasked with producing a piece of independent writing in the form of a blog article relating to current affairs. This competition is dedicated to encouraging students to share their perception of world events and matters that resonate with them. 

This term, the competition was opened to pupils at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi as well, with the title for the competition being “How will the world change, for better or worse, following the COVID-19 pandemic?”. There were a record number of entries from pupils from both schools and across all year groups, with a number of different angles being taken on the topic. 

Lucy A (Rhodes) was highly commended by the judges for her amusing taken on how our day to day lives have changed since lockdown began. George P (CAD) also impressed the judges with his piece on how the global balance of power was likely to shift away from America due to their inability to deal with the spread of the virus.

In the senior category, runners up Ashleigh K (CAD North) gave an extremely personal and emotional account of the difficulties of lockdown and isolation for those who already suffer with anxiety and other mental health conditions. The other runner up, Philip D (CAD East) touched on how online learning and business communication has adapted swiftly and successfully during the crisis, taking a more optimistic tone on how we may emerge stronger from the crisis.

The winning entry was from Jaiden M (CAD East) with an excellent article on the economics of the crisis and how the post-crisis world is likely to become more indebted, more digital and less global as a result in the changes that have already happened.

In the Junior category, the runners up were Bea E (West) and Archie P (East).  Bea showed an excellent, engaging style of writing, looking at the positive effects of the environment as a consequence of the shutting down of economies, along with how female leaders around the world have so far coped better with dealing with the crisis.  In his entry, Archie looked at the finger pointing that was already starting to occur between states, in particular the USA and China, as something that will likely continue.  However he also touched on the hope that standards of health are likely to improve as countries sure up their systems to prevent something similar from happening again.

The winner of the junior competition was Tom W (Cubitt), with an excellent take on how the economic impact of the crash is likely to cause knock on social effects around the globe, which will be of particular concern to countries who already are suffering with poverty and chronic shortages in supplies of vital medicines. 

The winners and runners up for this competition can be viewed here.