What’s that one activity that students really look forward to, after going back to school for an academic year?

We are not talking subjects here. We are referring to ‘culturals’, the group activity that school students enjoy conducting and participating in. For most school students, ‘culturals’ is not a chore… it is an emotion.

With the current COVID-19 situation, that is an emotion not possible to indulge in. It is for that very reason a group of Class XII students has put together an online independent forum Vortex, in order to keep the spirit of culturals alive during this lockdown.

Throughout this week and next, the group, consisting of 12th graders from schools across Chennai, plans to conduct a range of online events, including live ones such as Shipwreck, Debate and Whose Line is it Anyway. Submission events such as poetry, dance, music and art are part of this activity as well.

“The idea was floating around on social media for a long time and we knew there was no way the physical culturals of our dreams could be risked, so we decided to do it independently online,” says Neeraja Srinivasan, one of the organisers, “Most of us have prior experience dealing with events at school so we decided it shouldn’t be too hard online either.”

And so, along with a team of 20 friends, the group put together Vortex. Apart from regular ‘culturals’ events, there are other activities as well. An event called ‘Paws Unleashed’ will have participants sending in a 30-second video of their pet doing a trick. There’s also Art Attack (body painting), Cosplay (the art of dressing up as a character) and Vlog-in-Time (vlogging) among their event list. “All these give participants a chance to explore their creativity with limited resources due to lockdown,” adds Neeraja.

All the events will be held via Google Meet, and winners will receive E-certificates. The team of Vortex is also collaborating with four NGOs (Cease The Spread, Yein Udaan, Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary and Team Everest) for the venture. Vortex is completely online, but the team is still hopeful of a future where culturals will be held like before. “For a lot of people, culturals are an emotion more than just an event to participate in and win. It’s very close to our hearts and we’d hate to see the tradition end with us. Hopefully, one day, culturals in Chennai will thrive as much as it did until lockdown began.”

Vortex is currently on, till July 1. For registration, register through @thevortexevent on Instagram

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