A group of students is making final preparations for a month-long adventure to Borneo where they will trek a mountain, learn jungle skills, undertake a community project, see orangutans and have scuba dive tuition.
Six students and Mrs Strydom are going on the trip, which has been two years in the planning. The students have taken part in fundraising initiatives in order to raise the trip costs of around £4,000 each. They will be accompanied by expedition leader Pete Heesom from adventure company Outlook Expeditions.
They fly from Heathrow to Kota Kinabalu on 2nd July and their packed itinerary comprises a jungle camp, a trek of Mount Kinabalu and a project which will see them undertake community work in Kudat, known as the tip of Borneo. Then they will visit an orangutan sanctuary before learning to scuba dive and gaining PADI Open Water certification. The final phase of the trip will see them taking part in a marine project on the TAR Islands before flying back to the UK via Singapore.
Student Charlie Adair, from Year 11, said: 'I decided to take part in the Outlook Expedition because Borneo looked an amazing place to go on an adventure. I am not the most confident of people and I wanted to do something that would really challenge and push me outside of my comfort zone. This trip will certainly give me all that and I am really looking forward to learning how to scuba dive. I am an experienced swimmer but I have never dived before and so again this was a great way to push myself both mentally and physically but at the same time I am able to do something I love.'
'I have managed to raise the money to go on this trip by fundraising. I arranged a sponsored swim and swam 1 length of a 25m pool for every mile it is from the UK to Borneo. Thats 7,226 lengths and I completed this all within 30 days!! I have held other fund raising events of cake sales, raffles, recycling clothes, bag packing at supermarkets and car washing. I am proud to say that I have raised all of the funds myself and saved all my pocket money, birthday and Christmas money too. I am so excited to be going on this trip and I am determined to have a wonderful memorable time.'
Mrs Strydom said: ‘It is going to be a great adventure. I am looking forward to getting to know the students, seeing how they grow in this challenge and what skills and experience they gain. It has been a lot of money for them to raise and they have done it all themselves. Some put aside a set amount each month from wages while others have organised events and concerts.
'The students are involved in everything on the trip from organising the budget, transport and accommodation, so it involves a lot of leadership skills. We have been on a training weekend in the Peak District to get to know each other and learn basic skills such as pitching tents and cooking. I am most looking forward to the diving phase and the marine project as it will be great learning those skills and it is one of the best places to go diving. We will also be learning survival and bushcraft skills in the jungle so we are aware of potential threats like poisonous plants. We will also be doing a community project but the language may prove to be a bit of a barrier. The students are getting excited about it. It is a great way to round off the school year, particularly as most of the students have been sitting their GCSEs. This trip will be both a challenge and an opportunity.’