All summer, our ten semi-finalists worked hard on their Korean for this year’s Junior Language Challenge semi-final but, unfortunately, with exams and illness three of our pupils had to pull out of the competition.

On Monday 19th September, 27 children from our region met at Fairfield Prep School to compete against each other for a place in the final at the Olympia on Friday 14th October. They were divided into three groups and the tension was unbearable! Parents, teachers and children were holding their breath as the contestants’ names were moving up and down the score board.

After a fierce battle in their respective groups, Ben (6I), Ritisha (5B), Aryan (5B), Ibrahim (5B), Sophie (5R), Chloe (4P) and Joel (2J) all finished their rounds with a smile on their faces, having done their best to score points. Whilst we all waited to know who would get through to the decisive round, parents and teachers were given a chance to test their knowledge of Korean in the same games as the children. I caved under the pressure imposed on me by the children and, without knowing any words of Korean, managed to finish second! Only 10 top scorers, including Ritisha and Chloe, were to go through to the decisive round where we would finally know who would go to the final.

Mrs Lynn, the remaining BCS pupils and myself all crossed our fingers and sent good thoughts and encouragements to Ritisha and Chloe who were battling in this ‘crème de la crème’ round. With a score of 300 points, Ritisha finished at the top of the score board and secured her place for the final round on Friday 14th October. Chloe, the youngest in this round, finished with 242 points. Later in the day, I received an email from the JLC team congratulating our semi-finalists as the scores in today’s event were the highest ones in the whole country!

Our seven semi-finalists can be proud of themselves: they have shown much perseverance and kindness in their learning of Korean and supporting each other during the event. Let’s all now encourage Ritisha as she has less than three weeks to learn Swahili before the big day!

Good luck, Ritisha!