Students Reflect on Round Square Conference in Cape Town
Students Reflect on Round Square Conference in Cape Town

From Sept. 27 to Oct. 9, a delegation of five students, along with faculty members Dave Thompson, director of international programs, and Humanities Instructor Amanda McClure, traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, to represent Hotchkiss at the annual Round Square International Conference. The group posted a number of messages while at the conference. The following are some their reflections of their time abroad:

"After what felt like an eternity the plane finally landed in Cape Town. The ride from the airport to the bed and breakfast was quick and we were finally able to lay down in a real bed after nearly 25 hours of traveling. We were told the view from the bed and breakfast was spectacular, but we weren't sure what it was as we had arrived in the dark. After waking up we walked out the front door to the sight of clear blue skies and the one and only Table Mountain." — Chris Lukens '19

"Our first speaker, Caleb, was a 22-year old shark attack survivor, who stressed the service, adventure, and leadership in his life that have helped him maintain positivity and tenacity throughout the challenges he's faced since 2015. He attributed this to his mother, who taught him the acronym IADOY (It All Depends On You). He urged us to create our own stories by having a positive outlook and "making friends with our circumstances" in order to rise above them. Our other speaker, the lead singer in a famous South African band (Freshlyground) shared stories of her childhood in a township, where she was constantly reminded of the segregation and inequality of apartheid. Despite the oppression of the government, she felt the unity of the black community within her township, as they were united in their suffering. She sang to us and urged us to value and share our own stories." — Anna Connell '18

"Over 1,000 kids from 40 different countries are packed in the Cape Town international conference center and are greeted by the his and her majesty King Constantine and Queen Ann-Marie. We had two keynote speakers regarding the African wildlife, specifically that of South Africa. "The Big Cat Guy" connected with three main cats in South Africa, the leopard, the cheetah, and the jaguar. Following the Cat Guy, Dr. William Fowldes, a veterinarian, introduced the issue of Rhino poaching and its declining population. Instead of paying more guards, Dr. Fowldes explained how it is key to teach people in the countries that are buying the most horns about the devastating effects on individuals and local communities, and to introduce children to rhinos and other animals in the wild - less than 2% of the population of South Africa has seen a rhino in the wild." — Hauken Washington '18

"Sally, Anna, and I woke up around 6:15 to blustering wind outside our homestay. Our host mother and sister prepared us a delicious home cooked breakfast before driving us to St. Cyprian's school. The weather was chilly and bit rainy. We all went our separate ways for our 'Adventure Day' activities. Sally and Hauken went surfing, Chris and Anna went on the 'difficult hike,' and I challenged myself to the 'easy' hike at Cape Point." — Emma Knight '18