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Bursting Balloons

Written by Tupili Caleb Ronak
Edited by Jessica Kuan

So what now? The clock was ticking, the day was nearing, and nervous drops of sweat were trickling. We had to achieve a monumental task; bringing a 2-Day convention, with an estimated attendance of over 300, online. Phew!

Our little story begins in the month of December. After speaking on 2019’s High School Day panel, I readily availed myself to help out with the 2020’s convention. Over the year-end, Homeschool Convention Teams had met in-person, and begun work on their respective programs. I was a member of two such teams; The High School Day (HSD) team, and the Media Team (MT). All was smooth sailing. The HSD team had met and discussed over a meal at Saizeriya, and the MT had… nothing much to do yet. Yet around the same time we began our preparations, something else was gradually escalating alongside it; yep, COVID-19.

After the pattern of 2018 and 2019’s Homeschool Conventions, we all had a rough idea of what the 2020 Convention would look like. This year the organizers had secured a new venue, and were looking forward to running the High School Day with a younger lineup. Tickets had gone live, and events had sold out as well! However, during the months leading up to the event, many changes were being made to the Singaporean lifestyle. Safe-Distancing measures were ramped up, preventing teams to meet up and prepare in person. In light of these changes, individual teams had reverted to preparing online on platforms such as Zoom and Webex. The feasibility of running a 300+ attendee event started to dwindle.

In the next few weeks, as Malaysia and other nations went on lockdown, the reality hit all of us, like a ton of bricks; “We have to do something now… and fast”. Our Media Team had a very simple task at the beginning; to provide a simple photo and video coverage, and to promote events on Social Media. But all that drastically changed as the extent and need for media inflated. It was like watching a balloon gradually being inflated with the constant underlying worry that it was going to burst. Within a few short weeks, Homeschool Convention Teams under the guidance of Mr. Mark Lim quickly met in small groups to pre-record their segments. In a matter of days, the convention had re-shaped significantly.

The 2020 Homeschool Convention, which returned for its fourth edition, transformed into a whole new event in itself. The migration towards online platforms had an associated positive effect; a broader and wider impact. The Convention surged past the limitations of facility and manpower, embracing technology and appealing to far more than we would have initially expected. That being said, it did not come easy. A lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears were shed in the pursuit of making this a possibility. All involved teams and members had to stretch themselves beyond what they signed up for to rise up to a larger calling. By extension, I am sure that family members had to come together and spur their loved ones who were involved in the convention. But in hindsight, this accomplished something greater than what was envisioned. It was worth it, and it all makes sense.

I can summarise the convention in one word; community. At the same speed that the convention reached out onto online platforms and towards the community at large, it also reached into the heart of education, and the forever-needed institution of the community. “Come and be refreshed. Come and join us. We are in this together!” Ms. Dawn Fung responded in an interview conducted by the Gazette, “When we relate heart-to-heart with one another, we feel equipped as a result of being understood.” We not only related heart-to-heart this time around, but we also related vision-to-vision, passion-to-passion, and soul-to-soul when push came to shove.

The clock was ticking, the day was nearing, and nervous drops of sweat were trickling. We had to achieve a monumental task; bringing a 2-Day convention, with an estimated attendance of over 300, online. And we did.

Our Community did.

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