The Ithaka Prize is our celebration of the creative journey PGS Sixth Form pupils experience when they carry out their research projects for PGS Extend or the IB Extended Essay. In the summer of Year 12, pupils work alongside a supervisor to plan their assignment and identify appropriate sources and methods for their research. They complete the projects independently over the summer and then submit them to a marker on their return in Year 13. Over the following weeks, the pieces are assessed and graded, with a distinction awarded for work which reflects university standards. The best of the distinction work is nominated for the Ithaka Prize for Independent Learning.
Every year, our Sixth Formers benefit greatly from PGS Extend and IB Extended Essays as part of their university applications; higher education institutions are particularly keen to see evidence of studies beyond examination syllabuses.
Of course, 2020 was a year like no other. Under unprecedented circumstances, one might have expected that the creativity and commitment of this years’ cohort would be dimmed. In the event, the complete opposite proved to be the case. This year’s finalists, of which there are more than would be shortlisted in a ‘normal’ year, produced a range of projects that are truly exceptional in breadth and quality. The judging panel have been faced with an incredibly difficult decision. The full list of shortlisted pupils was:
- Jacob French – ‘The Aging of the End’; To what extent has our perception of death changed over time? (a documentary)
- Max Harvey – Bedroom spectrometry
- Sacha Hemingway – Compare and contrast the ways in which Christopher Marlowe and H.G. Wells present the universal desire to exceed the status quo.
- Megan Latham – A translation of the Gospel of Mark from the New Testament from its original Greek and a commentary
- Nicholas Lemieux – Have streaming services rendered traditional TV completely obsolete?
- Nicholas Ross – Is it possible to research space from the back garden?
- Habina Seo – Architecture exists in sound: the redesigning of the PGS Music Department
- Scarlett Sprague – Mountaineering on Mars: Is it possible to climb Olympus Mons?
- Oliver Thomas – ‘Peter the Great: Celebrated Tyrant.’ A documentary video essay assessing the life and legacy of Peter the Great of Russia
- Samantha Todd – ‘My Medicine’: an anthology inspired by medicine
This year’s Ithaka Prize was awarded to Megan Latham, for her translation of the Gospel of Mark from the New Testament from its original Greek and a commentary. The judging panel agreed wholeheartedly with Megan’s project supervisor, who commented: ‘Were Megan to have just analysed three translations of Mark, and provided a commentary so detailed, this project would be worth a distinction. The fact that she has also produced her own translation of the original Greek and has critically evaluated her translation methodology in doing so makes this an exceptional piece of work. This is one of the finest examples of humanities scholarship I have read from a Sixth Form pupil.’