It's an event they seem to have made their own.
Lakshmipat Singhania Academy has figured in the top three at the International Space Settlement Design Competition organised by Nasa four times in row, from 2013 to 2016. Crowned winners thrice and runners-up once, it's been a journey that's been as exciting and morale-boosting as can be.
The winners pose with the Tricolour
Last year, the school had lost the crown by a whisker. This year, 11 students reached Orlando to bring it back, and succeeded in doing so. "The competition starts with the prelims and is followed by the Asia round that takes place in Delhi. Once we cleared the two, we went to Orlando for the international round. The final took place over a gruelling 43 hours," recounts Aditya Vikram Kothari, Class XII.
The competition divides the students into different companies with five departments - human factor, business development, automation, structure and operation. This year, the companies were required to design a settlement in Mars. "We had been researching on Mars for the last five to six months and our preparation this year was good," Aditya said.
For Yogesh Choudhury, Class XII, the exposure that this event gave him is worth a million. "I want to pursue management and I got a hands-on experience of managing a team. Also, I learnt about different cultures and geo-political situations of the countries that took part," he said.
Shubham Rajgarhia, Class XII, agreed. "This trip was the best industry experience one can have. It was very coherent and comprehensive. Everyone had specific and tailor-made roles," he said. Priyal Jain, a Class X student, described the experience as "life changing". "This event gave me the opportunity to meet so many new people and learn a lot about communication skills.
The success of the students has made the teachers and mentors proud. For Subrato Chakraborty, math teacher, senior school, this was the fourth trip to the competition. "It is the same excitement that I feel every time the kids win. They are disciplined and punctual and there is so much to learn from them," he said.
As for principal Meena Kak, the early-morning phone call after the competition is what she waits for. "Every year, I wait for the call with equal excitement. It is a proud moment for me every time they win and a pleasure to watch them win, learn and grow," she said.