When I arrived at the Medill cherubs program, I quickly learned that I had been placed in Cynthia Wang’s instructor group. When we met with our group on the third day of the program, we barely knew each other.
Instructor groups are led by one of the cherub instructors and consist of about 10 cherubs. They meet at least once a week and compete against other instructor groups over the course of the program.
Our first group meeting started with quaint small talk and we discussed instructor group competition. Although Wang explained that she did not care about winning or losing but would rather us go into each event with a strategy, our agenda was set. Losing was not an option.
We were both competitive and strategic, the perfect formula for success.
The first competition was Junior Junior Olympics. We won the first event, the water balloon toss, as Andrew Golden and I were on the same page the entire time. In the next event, the dizzy bat race, we fully supported each other throughout and won once again. Despite not winning either of the next two events, our group topped the standings at the end of the day. That’s where it all started.
As the program progressed, we kept that close bond, sending each other news updates and positive messages in our group chat. In the next competition, telephone charades, our strategic mindsets paid off once again and we prevailed, continuing to stay on top of the leaderboard. We shared a bond that could not be broken, even when things got tough.
In Cherub Jeopardy, our group, Cyn City, struggled out of the gate. We had negative points for most of the game. But we did not give up on ourselves. We fought through adversity and finished second. Despite not winning the event, our comeback showed that we believed in each other.
We bounced back in Cheraoke. After finding out that our song was pop anthem “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift, we rushed to a rehearsal room as we only had 20 minutes to choreograph, and we came together and crushed it. Cyn City was back on top.
Despite all the victories, our group learned over the course of the program that there were more important things at Medill cherubs than winning. Striving to win may have connected us at first, but we quickly discovered that we were more than just an instructor group that met once a week. We shared a bond like no other group. And I will forever be grateful for that.