Sunday, June 13, 2021


6 & 7th’s Trip To Kerala


By Manavi Nag & Ishnaa Goenka

The Kerala trip was an amazing experience, we had tons of fun. Kerala is a beautiful state with a lot of diversity within it. It was such an exciting trip that 6th and 7th grade took. All the days were filled with exciting things to do. We were privileged enough to go to ISRO. A space centre that was the Indian equivalent of NASA and home to many successful launches. After this we made tour very own gliders. We drove to Alleppey. An absolutely gorgeous area where we road around a lake in a house boat for 3 hours taking in the stunning view. We watched one of the most spectacular dances I have ever seen, Kathakali. It was a beautiful story being told through dancing and facial expressions.

The drives were so scenic and the view made everyone stare at the window. In Munnar we got a tour of the tea plantation and the factory where it was processed and made into tea. We did tea tasting and the whole experience was fascinating. The day was adventure day, we fixed tents, did kayaking, sorbing, tree climbing, ladder crossing, zip lining! It was tons of fun. The traditional food was delicious. The trip was a wonderful and exciting experience where we made new friends are got closer to our old friends, and created long lasting memories.

How does mental health impact life?

As a thirteen-year-old girl, living in a country that often tends to brush aside problems of mental health as insignificant or “fake”; growing up with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder) hasn’t been easy. It basically delays the way of simple learning for kids. It is childhood developmental disorder which makes an otherwise healthy kid, clumsy. Anxiety and depression haven’t exactly been a joyride. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in the year 2018 and later that year with DCD The reality of living like this is far from what one might imagine. It’s more than just dark spells of time, suicidal thoughts or having long-awaited anxiety attacks with hyperventilation. What stands out in an interval of self-doubt, and hurt which no one sees or understands.

So what is a mental illness? What makes it okay to have one? And how does it change everything in your lif;e? It’s not easy, is something I can say. After I was diagnosed with depression, a few elders in my family thought that it was all in my brain and that it was something that only I believed existed. But what they didn’t realise was that I didn’t opt to have depression or any other mental health problems. I managed to close off my whole life, stopped talking to anyone and gave up on everything. This also led me to stop wanting to do anything and I lost interest in all of my favourite hobbies. It was only two or three months back that I got my life back.

Depression, it isn’t just darkness all around and constant death wishes. You can be depressed and still have fun and happy times. Even though I didn’t have the best social life and mental health, I still had fun times. And it isn’t a constant, it comes in waves and hits you like lightning. No one expects or wants it, it just happens. But what one must learn, and this is something I wish someone had spoken to me earlier about, is that it shouldn’t take over your entire life. For sure there is no reason it should become your identity. It is just a part of you which you needn’t be ashamed of.

Anxiety, one that is very common with teenagers nowadays, makes you feel like you stand out in a crowd. Its become very common due to the excess of social media and bullying. Even though a lot of people around you might be having anxiety attacks, you still feel as though you stand out too much. Half of the time, people just think you are faking it and doing it for attention. But the whole point is that we can’t help it, and honestly don’t want it in our lives. It comes whenever it wants to, without a warning. It is hard, really hard.

Coming finally to DCD… it, just like all the others, makes you stand out. But this time, people just simply call you names such as weird, crazy, or childish. But the problem is, I can’t help it. It makes me act childish. Yes, I have sensory needs and issues, it doesn’t make me any different than everyone else. It makes me lag in simple activities, but, doesn’t mean I am not smart. And it doesn’t become your entire identity. And honestly, I’m proud to be part of the specially-abled community. I believe it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Also, just because my special-ability isn’t a visible one, people often think I’m lying to them about the same.

At the end of the day, all these hurt. But they are only small parts of your life, and they cannot take over your whole identity unless you choose to let them. Everyone reacts to these in different ways.

My Experience with Online Education


This article is a part of The Ascent Summer Program 2020

By Anoushka Kumar

  Never in the history of humankind has there ever been such a lockdown been placed on the global population, but this pandemic has caused strife along with great emotional and physical suffering. It has swept the world with fear and uncertainty that lingers over our heads. This unprecedented event has sparked changes, one important one for a student being online schooling. 

  One of the factors that come with lockdown is online schooling. It isn’t an ideal way to be educated for many. Many struggles to even understand this concept. 

 Firstly, adjusting to learning in a new environment. Schools are created for the sole purpose of learning, and thus have everything for that experience to go as well as possible. Another is the fact that prolonged E-Learning can cause social isolation. It can also drastically affect your grades and understanding of the curriculum. Additionally,it requires self motivation, since there are very few things in your home environment that push you to work diligently and stay on task. 

 I personally struggled a lot with time management, which resulted in me not meeting deadlines and rushing through work. Missing out on updates and becoming very antisocial was suddenly an unexpected normal. But, after a while, I started to adjust to my new schedule and created a new routine for myself. 

Online education does have it’s benefits. like having much more flexible timings, and is consistent and convenient for everyone during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

 Some issues that others faced were not knowing how important communication and social interaction with friends are. In a school environment, these things are vital, not only to get you more comfortable but also academically. 

Some tips to help you adjust to online schooling are:

  1. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your teachers for help, as they understand that this is going to be hard, and are probably struggling with some things themselves. 
  2. Know the expectations that are being held; you are just as responsible for your actions as you are in a normal class setup.
  3. Get familiar with all the learning platforms you have access to. Once you do, you will be more accustomed to them and it will make you more comfortable doing your coursework. 
  4. Actively participate in classes. Even though you may feel like you’re learning alone, everyone is feeling confused and lost. This is something that others can understand, and reaching out to your classmates and teachers can help you infinitely. not only by making you understand academic work, but also raise your spirits at this time. 

We are all at crossroads right now, but challenging situations and obstacles are all a part of life, and practising gratitude and being positive are some of the best things you can do right now.

 Education is the most powerful weapon which  you can use to change the world.’’ 

-Nelson Mandela

Jai Vakeel Foundation Hosts Sports Day

Image taken by Rishi Tekchandani

by Arthur F. Beaugeard

The Jai Vakeel Foundation, an NGO(Non-Governemnt Organisation) based in Mumbai that educates autistic and intellectually disabled children, very kindly invited students from a variety of schools, including Ascend International School and Dhirubhai Ambani, to their Sports Day celebrations on February 7th. 

The Jai Vakeel Foundation wanted 5 volunteers from the 9th and 10th grade at Ascend. Although there was initially a surplus of volunteers, after one poor sap became ill and two others had to skip it for a Spanish summative, 5 remained: Aditya Prasad, Arthur Beaugeard, Kunsh Dhawan, Om Valia, and Rishi Teckchandani, who were being supervised. MYP Principle Dr. Margaret Fitzpatrick chaperoned the event. 

The cadre left at 9:30, but soon found themselves arriving comically late for the torch run ceremony at 10:50, in which 4 Ascend students were involved, meaning all of us barring Om, who saved his raw, surging power for another event down the line.

The Red, Green, and Yellow Houses of the Jai Vakeel Foundation all performed what they called “mass drill competitions”: Supremely organized, charming dance routines that made use of a variety of props to preach saintly messages of acceptance and inclusion. These carefully-choreographed and athletic dance routines spurred all those present to bask in the beauty of the art and celebrate the potential for a more inclusive society.

Image Taken by Rishi Tekchandani

The interschool inclusive relay followed, which pitted students of the Jai Vakeel foundation as well as some outsiders, notably our very own Om Valia, in a daring dash of damoiseaus, or perhaps dzzigetais, to their dooms. Om Valia valiantly led the fray in the relay. His efforts helped his team sprint to second place.

Imagine taken by Rishi Tekchandani

The winners of the relay are pictured here at the award ceremony. Each team won awards for different categories. Hometown Hero Om Valia is depicted on the far right. 

Image taken by Rishi Tekchandani

“I really enjoyed running with these kids. It was for a good cause.” Om declared as he started tearing up. “I was really happy to see the kids happy.” Another 9th grader, Kunsh Dhawan, said “I enjoyed helping the kids, and to see these kids who have problems being so dedicated towards sports.”

Ultimately, it was a great honor and a deeply rewarding experience to take part in the Sports Day of the Jai Vakeel foundation. Their work deserves high praise and their students deserve recognition and respect.

The new Juul on a teenagers crown

by Ayanna Puri

A new rage in the market is a newly developed e-cigarette that goes by the name of Juul. It has become one of the most popular e-cigarettes among the youth and has amassed nearly half the e-cigarette market. Due to its popularity, the Boston Globe has called it “the most widespread phenomenon you’ve never heard of”

So what is Juuling? E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that have a liquid ( “juice”) that turns into an aerosol that teens inhale into their lungs. Juuls have become very trendy among all children, teenagers and young adults due to its “ sleek and discreet” designs. It’s a rectangular vaporizing device that delivers a concentrated form of nicotine. It looks like a USB flash drive, and can even be plugged into a laptop to charge. Due to the design, the device often goes undetected by parents, teacher, and guardians, which make it easier to carry around. The biggest drawback, however, for the teens is that the Juul pod comes in many flavors, such as strawberry mint, mango, watermelon,  grape, cucumber, etc, making it intriguing and hard to resist for teens.

But why are Juuls so addictive to teenagers? The Juice in one Juul pod contains 5% of nicotine, which is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes. Nicotine is addictive and gives a sense of de-stressing and exhilaration. Teenagers with stress find Juuling the simplest way to let out all the pressure and relax.  Many children report that they only started using Juuls because they were curious about the new product and they believed that they were not as harmful as cigarettes. The Juuls company made Juuls get smokers to inhale fewer toxins and chemicals, instead, this e-cigarette has become a rage amongst, teenagers, even those not legally allowed to smoke and has, in fact, attracted more nonsmoker who only started because they were curious, because the product is a rage and “everyone is doing it” (FOMO- fear of losing out) and peer pressure. 

 Addiction to Juuling or Vaping is of huge concern, affecting mainly the younger generation. Although the Juul is considered better than cigarettes, due to the proclaimed lower level of chemicals, it still possesses a drug called Nicotine. Nicotine can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate as well as harming developing brains. Kid’s and teenager’s brains are still developing and therefore the effects are more severe to development. Not only do e-cigarettes affect one’s mind but also the skin, eyes, and lungs. While first-hand smokers suffer the direct effects of Juuling or Vaping, the people around are also affected by the smoke. Every time you take a puff of an E-cigarette, the nicotine from the Juul or other e-cigarettes gets into the teen’s lungs and bloodstream and makes them addicted. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.

“Smoke-free is the way to be.” 

although Juuls contain fewer chemicals than normal cigarettes, they still contain deadly toxins that include Flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical that connects to serious lung disease, Ultrafine particles that get inhaled deep into the lungs, nicotine, and heavy metals such as tin, lead, and nickel.  Not only do the chemicals in Juuls affect the body of the consumer, but also the people around them. It is hard for the Juul users to know and understand what the product contains because some E-cigarettes have been marketed as nicotine-free which is found to be untrue. The notion amongst some that Juuls are just “harmless water vapers” is unjustified and misleading.  By the time the teens were informed on the dangers of Juuling, most said that they often found it difficult to quit felt addicted to it.

Initially, Juuls were mostly popular among high school students and 80% of everyone that were juuling were within this age range. Many students had reported seeing their peers “ illegally smoking” and many teachers suspicions were raised where they would see smoke in class.

Advertisers are the main culprits in promoting these additive and harmful e-cigarettes. Advertising and marketing targeting the young teen, easy accessibility of this product, the exciting flavors of the pods, the cool factor, the promotion of the “less harmful than cigarette” campaign have all contributed to the rise of e-cigarettes. 

As Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, Senior Author of Stanford University study on Juuls stated, “We need to help them understand the risks of addiction. This is not a combustible cigarette, but it still contains an enormous amount of nicotine — at least as much as a pack of cigarettes.”This nicotine abuse has not gone unnoticed, however. In August 2018, 3 months after founded, Juuls were banned In the unites states of America by Donal trump. 5 million teenagers got under the influence of smoking and got addicted to nicotine in those 3 months.  

Its time to open our eyes and see the danger of Juuling.

This Juul in the teenagers crown needs to be discarded since it’s worthless and harmful. 

Teens’ views on Corona Virus and Quarantine

By Anika Mahansaria and Tara Hebbar

Coronavirus has taken the world by storm, each day it changes something or the other. Now there are so many different age groups that have been affected in several different manners. With the old and young having to be extremely careful and the middle-ages having to worry about the smallest of things that could endanger others. In this article, we will be going through the entire situation from teenagers’ points of view. 

It is a very trying time for everyone, especially people who stay in joint families or have many siblings. You’d never think that you’d spend so much time with your family and your siblings driving you up the wall! Every single thing becomes a petty issue to fight about and them being your only social interaction is not the best of news! With school work, who uses which room becomes a big fight, with one person ending up outside their respective room. Shushes and screams are always around trying to stop the other from interrupting their zoom calls. This entire situation has been so chaotic but there are some good things that we can take back from this as well. Every day we see videos of nature reclaiming its rightful land and showing us what we have done to ruin it so. 

Quarantine is the absolute worst. Everyone is cooped up inside their houses and now only a single person is allowed to leave to get groceries. People want to go for walks and get fresh air, which now isn’t possible. Parents are keeping their kids at home, and the kids are getting extremely bored or annoyed. For some people, quarantine can be an amazing time to spend with families. 

On the other hand, many more people are getting tired. Zoom calls can be draining, not just for your laptop but also you. People are just sitting in front of their computers all day trying to figure out that extremely trying work issue, or helping a friend solve the hard maths questions. People, for good reasons, are taking immense measures to help avoid contracting disease. 

Everyone is facing one hardship or another. Parents and middle-aged people are facing the task of having to manage the house and food in this trying time. Even though essential services such as grocery stores are supposed to be open, it is very hard to find a venue that is stocked up on food and people aren’t fighting for the available resources. People are running out of food and delivery services aren’t able to meet the demands.

 For students, online school is the worst. Online school has done only one good thing, it has allowed us to appreciate the “real” school so much more. I don’t think that anyone wanted to go back to school this badly in a while!

Though it keeps us busy, online school is really hard. It’s for the main reason that when you’re sitting at home there are distractions galore. The fridge, the TV, your phone all call your name but you know that your teacher will not be very happy to see you do these things!

All you want to do is take a nap when your bed is so close but you have so many classes that require you to actually be awake! Even after 3 weeks, it’s hard to get used to it.

How are people spending their days? Well, most people are either on Netflix, trying to kill boredom the only way they know how to, or on House Party, trying to talk to their friends. 

Though this has been on for long enough it never seems to end, only get worse! Well, outdoors we really hope to see you again soon.

It Wasn’t Me – Justifying Our Own Actions.

Source -

by Tara Hebbar and Diya Barmecha 

“I had to, it wasn’t my fault,” This is a line that many of us have said or often thought of. We are so quick to blame and put down others for making a small mistake but when we do the same, our minds always find a way to justify it. What is the reason for this? To what extent can our mind justify our actions while condemning another for doing the same?

Whether it is breaking the traffic signal or forging an age on a ticket, there are several such actions which are against the law or unethical, but commonly done. When we hear of someone else’s wrong doings we are quick to condemn them for it, and jump to conclusions about their motives. However, when we do the same thing, we always tend to find a reason to make it seem less drastic, or extremely required. For example, when it comes to the example of breaking the traffic signal, when we see others do it, we nod our heads disapprovingly or make a remark about their ignorance to the law, however, when we are in a race with time or forget to stop for the signal, it’s suddenly justified. We always associate our own wrongdoings with rhyme and reason, but refuse to reciprocate this when others have done the same. Humanity as a race, has trouble with providing the benefit of the doubt, and are always looking to pin the blame on someone or something, anything apart from themselves. 

The act of “gossiping” is a derivative of the same, we are quick to circulate the actions of others, especially with those who fuel us, or share the same opinions. It is a known fact that humans have been gossiping since the beginning of our existence on the planet. We tend to not only discuss others wrongdoings, but additionally attribute plausible reasons for it as well. We bring the past into the present and see these as a means to predict the future, and therefore form judgements on certain people or things. Although it is natural, there is also a line that needs to be drawn. Just because a large population of people bend and tweak the laws to suit them, that does not make it right. In the example given above,the law simply states that the traffic signal cannot be broken, it does not consider the morality or the several possible reasons one might find to break it. 

The reason that we self-justify is explained well by psychology with an idea called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of mental discomfort that occurs when there are two contradicting beliefs. Due to this discomfort most people tend to want consistency and thus change their perception to minimize the discomfort. This theory was proposed by Leon Festinger, an American social psychologist. He believes that we have a need from within to ensure that we are consistent. From our beliefs to behaviours, he believes we need consistency. One of the main reasons for cognitive dissonance is being required to forcefully comply. This could be one of the reasons why we find the need to justify our own actions. When we are put in a situation where we are not comfortable or feeling dissonance we find consistency and go back to our feeling of “normal”. When we justify ourselves we decrease the dissonance that was caused by what we did. We can try to justify it by creating blind spots and have no opportunity for forgiveness. By justifying ourselves, we maintain a positive image of ourselves and increase our self-esteem. Although psychology has found a reason why we justify our own actions, there is no moral reason to do so. 

In conclusion, there are several reasons that we can attribute to our wrong doings and actions in order to justify it, to ourselves and others. Psychology and science backs this up, however, there is also a line that needs to be drawn and made crystal clear. If we allow ourselves to  justify our actions, in every scenario, then we can never better ourselves and learn from the past, instead of living in it.

Gurgaon to Mumbai


By Arjun Mahajan

2018 has been the most eventful year of my life. I became a teenager officially, I got to perform at several musical gigs as I am really passionate about music and play various instruments. I have been playing music for the past nine years. I made a lot of new friends but above all, I moved from “the millennium city” to “the maximum city”. Gurgaon. My dad was transferred to Mumbai two years ago but my mom and I were not sure about our move then. But this year in August, we came across Ascend and that made us reconsider our decision.

“Gurgaon gives you a lot of space and Mumbai has no room to breathe.”

I got to know that this is a really good school for students who like creating, questioning and researching. After spending a day at the school and meeting some amazing classmates and teachers, I was sure that this is the school for me. Yes, it was going to be hard to stay away from all my new and old friends in Gurgaon, but I chose to look at this situation in a positive way and decided to move. I am really excited to be at this school and I’m hoping I’ll have a great time! I know I will, only time will tell…

A Journey to Confidence


By Diya Barmecha

This article is part of The Ascent’s Summer Program 2020

Commitment, Confidence, Resilience, Vision, Integrity.

These are all things that a good leader has. Some things that I don’t have. A good leader can keep composure and make tough decisions, they need to be so confident in themselves that people can follow them. It is a hard job, a full-time commitment. Times when you aren’t being a leader and you just need to be alone, there are people looking. Every time you make a mistake there are people following you. However, every time you do something great there are others sharing your happiness. 

When I went into fifth grade, I was a happy child with my focus only on studying and learning more. I entered my fifth-grade classroom with a smile on my face and excited for my first year of independence and my first year of non-integrated sciences. My childish beliefs hid me from the reason everyone else was excited. This year there was going to be a captain for each house. Blue house was the house I had been in since I entered the school. That was my home. That documented all my wins, football matches, multiple chess tournaments and sports days. 

A captain meant that I had to lead the blue house and guide them. I knew that I was a good-hearted person with commitment but I didn’t have confidence. I could never believe in myself, but I did believe in others. I believed that everyone could do everything if they tried. The day of selection, you had to be nominated by a teacher and seconded by a student. I sat nervously, I wanted to get nominated but I was scared. There was no word that could describe the emotion I was feeling. The second that I heard my name being called out by a teacher and a student, I sighed and smiled. A lot of my friends and classmates looked at me and I was sure that they were thinking something along the lines of, “I thought all she cared about was studies, how can she lead?”

I put my heart into the campaign, designed a logo and a slogan. I was so excited, even if I didn’t win, I made friends with a lot of other grades and people. The hardest part of the campaign was the speech I had to give in front of the entire school. I had prepared a speech like everyone else, they all had a quote and other things that made it sound very interesting. When I went up, I shared a story, a story about who I’m not the usual person to run for and why I did. I think I inspired a lot of people.

At the start, I was nervous about talking in front of so many people but as I progressed with the story, I got a few laughs and smiles. By that time, I was very comfortable. Those people become my family.

The voting system was anonymous and each student’s vote was one point. The teacher’s vote was 10 points. The entire student body knew that I was going to get all the teacher votes because I was the ideal student, work always done on time, asked great questions, helped peers. Nobody expected me to run for the captain and so no one realised that I could win because I would get most of my points because of the teachers. In the end, I did win, I won by a big advantage. All the teachers voted for me because I was a great student and a natural leader. All the people in my class voted for me because they knew that if they broke a few rules I would let it go. All the younger grades voted for me because I believed in them and I believed that they could always become better. 

Becoming a house captain only lasted a year but my confidence in leading stayed. It made me a better person and someone that people could look up to. That year opened my eyes as I saw myself as not only someone smart but also someone who could be a leader. The people around me also noticed that and I was looked at through a whole different lens.

There’s a line between fun ragging and torture

by Vir Kamath

Ragging is the term used for the so-called “initiation ritual” practiced in higher education institutions in South Asian countries, including India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Ragging might just seem like normal bullying and you may not tend to think much about it but it is really dangerous, especially for college students and in this article, I will be explaining why Ragging is so dangerous and why it needs to be stopped urgently.

A 19-year-old girl committed suicide this month after being constantly ragged by her college mates. She was an IIT student ( Indian Institute of Technology ) and she worked extremely hard to get in the IIT because one the best of the best could get admissions. She worked on the college degree. In her college were a group of evil and dark-headed men who showed hatred and disrespect towards women and ragged multiple and did the same with her. They claimed that they were senior to her and she should do whatever they say. They also said that if she complained to the police, they would kill her parents. This continued for long and it even got to the point where she was sexually harassed and she couldn’t take it anymore. One fine day she wrote a message to her parents saying that she loved them and she was on board a train to the college. She did not want to go to college because she was constantly ragged and did not want to live anymore. In the middle of the ride, she jumped off the train, fell over the tracks and got run over by another train and eventually died. She committed suicide. It is really sad to see that hundreds of students are ragged and meet the same fate as her every day. May her soul rest in peace. 

After reading this article you will probably understand why ragging is so dangerous. What’s even more shocking is that women are not the only victims of ragging but so are men. In terms of committing suicide, India is the number one country. More students in India die of suicide than of the disease. That means that there is definitely something wrong. And ragging plays a serious role in this statistic. Looking at this girls example, we must take into account that ragging is an issue that needs to be stopped, in the picture above that placard is signed by thousands of college students and marks that they want to stop this as well. Together we must come up with a solution to stop ragging before it’s too late. 

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