Saturday, August 4th :
The sun rises on Fontainebleau: as the students eagerly wake up for the morning lecture, the counsellors painfully recover from their night off. The lectures kick off with an in depth look at Maywood cycles, the legendary cycle company based in Nottingham. After being talked through the due diligence by Adrian Johnson, the students were put in their ‘your first hundred days’ (YFCD) teams, whereafter they were faced by a counsellor taking up the role of Emily -or her cousin Sebastian- Maywood, heir to the Maywood family and current head of Maywood Cycles (MC). Their first assignment is to negotiate themselves an advantageous deal to acquire MC. This was their chance to apply what they had learned throughout the week in Profs. Sinaceur, Rangan and Lobo’s classes. Unfortunately, most people focused on price and were distracted from other toxic technicalities in the deal – much to their dismay when they got the debrief later on. Thankfully, this shouldn’t affect their chances too much, and they still have much to prove as the new C-suite of MC.
To lighten their spirits after lunch, the students were offered outdoor activities in the forest nearby. A few stayed behind on campus to avoid the scorching sun, while others set off to do some paintball, ziplining or horse riding. This second half of the day was less stressful than the first but featured some strenuous bits. Acrobranching was definitely a challenge for some of the students, who got to challenge their fear of heights for some and push their adventurous instincts further for others. As for the paintballers, they got a chance to relieve some of that stress against each other by shooting paint pellets from behind their combat-ready face masks.
But after some food and a shower, they were ready for the evening’s entertainment, one of the trip’s highlights, the [email protected] 2018 Talent Show!
We had two MCs to introduce the acts, Alejandro and Sebastian, and two sets of judges for each half. First up we had Vincente playing a limited edition guitar lent to him by one of Adrian’s friends and the tune he played gently lulled everyone into the mood. From then on the variety was spectacular; Maximilian put on display a gripping stop-motion animation of Lego people fighting for “The Tesseract”; Adrianos took the stage for some stand up (which included an explanation of how he uses maths and algebra to keep his mind … occupied); Ekaterina provided some magic that left us in a state of confusion and wonder when she correctly guessed what card her volunteer picked from a normal pack of cards; Denis “The Menace” got the room chuckling with an interpretive dance based on the lyrics of the song he chose; and even the Counsellors got involved, first with William and Charlie (AKA “The Brexiteers”) singing a song by McFly together, and then with the whole team dancing to Beyoncé!!
The fun did not stop there however; Charlotte came onto the stage with humility, announced that she was going to do some dancing, and then seemingly out of nowhere made everyone’s jaws drop when she exploded with an expressive, complex and riveting routine with a mid-air flip. Similarly, Falk started playing the piano quietly and musically, but then started switching to different pieces seamlessly, creating a kind of classical music mashup. Mid-way through, he paused on one note while Denis reappeared to blindfold him with a tie, and from this point on, his mashup turned into an extravaganza of exciting and fast-paced tunes like Fur Elise and Pirates of the Caribbean. We also had the privilege to see a group of students of different nationalities do an exceptionally choreographed dance to a mashup of songs that were also from different nations (including India, Finland and the USA), finishing with Michael Jackson’s all-time classic, “Thriller”.
The audience were then asked to migrate outdoors to announce the winners. After a few minutes deliberation, the judges decided on a top three: Number 3 was Charlotte with her perfectly executed contemporary dance routine, Number 2 was Maximilian for his polished and entertaining Lego battle, and Number 1 was Falk for his startling piano performance. However, in alignment with the principles we strive to maintain at [email protected], the Talent Show in its entirety was a big win!!
Overall, The past week has been rife with athletic activities meant to test the prowess of our students outside of the classroom. A “knockout” tournament on the basketball court was played alongside intense games of ping pong. The students have also been quick to participate in pick-up games of football. Moreover, the much-anticipated table football/fussball tournament, aka Freddy’s Cup, is currently underway. Fans have crowded the campus to watch the first round. Tickets are sold out. A ping-pong tournament is also in the works, with several students and even professors expressing interest.
Eliott, Maxim & William