Students and staff completed a six-day hike in the Tatra mountains in Poland as part of their World Challenge trip this summer. It was just one phase of a three-part trip that also included teaching English to Polish children and enjoying the sights of Krakow, the second largest city in the country.
The 11 students, from Years 10, 12 and 13, flew to Poland via Munich and initially went to the Mountain Haven centre, a children's retreat set up by the Duchess of York. They spent four days there teaching the children basic English, songs and games.
Miss Gorey said: 'Teaching the children English was quite a challenge; our students divided into two groups and we mentored and guided them and pushed them in the right direction. They had lots of resources themselves and had prepared lesson plans beforehand.'
Then it was on to the mountain climbing with the party, led by their World Challenge organiser, hiking through the steep terrain. The longest day consisted of a ten and half mile walk and the party stayed in huts along the route, sometimes climbing thousands of metres in altitude in a single day. The highest peak they reached was 2,100m.
Student Samantha Sime said: 'There was definitely so many high points! I don't think there will any greater feeling than when we all reached the top on our hardest day of trekking, and seeing the pride on everyone's face. When you look down, it's such a feeling of disbelief to see what you've done and how far you've come. I've never felt more part of a team.'
Miss Lincoln said: 'A lot of the students didn't know each other beforehand but they were really supportive of each other. Everyone had a down time where they were tired or had bites or sunburn but they all really worked together, even people who didn't know each other too well. There were times when it was raining and we were all tired and they were pushing each other on and helping each other.'
The students had to raise £1,200 each to go to Poland. It is the second World Challenge trip that Brooke Weston students have embarked on. Last year a group spent a month exploring Peru and next year another party will leave for Namibia and Botswana.
Miss Lincoln said: 'Every single one of them, at some point during the trekking part would think “I can't do this, it's not possible.” Yet they all managed to and they were all just beaming. They accomplished something they did not think they could. The other high point was just being with the students because they are just funny.'