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High School: A World of Opportunities

An update on this year’s nine Enrichment Trips, and a report from one of last year’s - the Operation Wallacea Expedition to Indonesia.

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Enrichment Trips

Each year we try to increase the number of opportunities available for High School students to travel on Enrichment Trips - trips that are not an essential part of the curriculum, but that will really add to the students’ learning in a wide variety of ways.

On Friday morning last week, and this morning for Years 12 and 13, all High School students had a short Assembly in which this year’s Enrichment Trips were introduced. You can see my letter to all High School parents about the Enrichment Trips here and the Google Slides that were shown to the students here.

I am sure you will agree that this is a fantastic range of opportunities for Enrichment Trips for the High School students, especially together with all their day trips, Curriculum/field trips, sport tournaments, Year 12’s Service Week trips and, of course, the annual Residential Trips for Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12.

Please contact the Lead Teacher for each trip if you would either like any more information or to register your interest in your son/daughter participating in that trip.

On Friday 31 August, we sent home Medical Information and Consent Forms to all parents. Please return these as soon as possible to ensure that our information is as up to date as possible.

Roo Stenning
Head of High School

High School Calendar: Term 1

Tuesday 11th September

Years 12 and 13 Parents' Information Evening

Thursday 13th September

Year 10-13 Elevate Workshops

Friday 14th September

INSET Day: School closed for students

Saturday 15th September

International Reef-Clean: Pattaya

Monday 17th September

Oxford Union Visit

Week beginning Monday 17th September

TISAC Secondary Choir Day: TBC

Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th September

Year 9 Geography Trips: Suvarnabhumi Airport

Wednesday 19th and 26th September

Year 7 Science Trips: Rangsit Science Museum

Wednesday 19th - Sunday 23rd September

Year 12/13 Theatre Arts ISTA Conference: Singapore

Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd September

Bangkok Patana Invitational Tennis Tournament

Sunday 23rd September

Patana Fun Run: Ancient Siam Park

Tuesday 25th September

PTG Annual General Meeting

The school’s Google Calendars are on Moodle, via the very easy to remember http://calendar.standrews.ac.th/.

Operation Wallacea 2018: Part 1

This trip has made me a better person in the way that I am more aware of my environment and how to be environmentally friendly. This has influenced me to go in the same direction (possibly) when studying in university. During the trip, I met many amazing people and personalities that have changed me for the best and they all made me look at the world differently, I am excited to take on my next challenges. I would recommend for anyone to go on the trip to Operation Wallacea as it is generally life changing and opens your eyes to a new world and new topics to talk about.”
- Emma Gille (Year 13)

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Operation Wallacea! Where does one begin trying to put into words; the challenges, the tears, the laughter, the friendships, the learning, the achievements, the mud, the rain, the leeches, the rainforests and the sense of having one’s eyes opened to the bigger picture and being part of an incredible adventure that is so totally unique and special it will stay with the students for the rest of their lives.

It all started where it always starts, early in the morning at Suvarnabhumi airport with a group of adventurous students; Laksha, Emma, P, Nabil, Kadi, Emmy, Minh- Ly, Naddy and Mr. Jon. After a day of travel we arrived in Makassar, the Capital of Sulawesi Island (Indonesia), for our last night of relative comfort before our early morning flight to Bau Bau on Buton Island and the start of our adventure. In Bau Bau were met our fellow explorers from Helmsted in Sweden, a group who we would become very well acquainted with given the compact accommodation we would be sharing over the next weeks.

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After a simple breakfast we headed north on a three hour car ride to the village of Lebundo. Here we spent the night in local accommodation with local families, before rising early to trek into the Lambusango Forest Reserve and our base camp. When the expedition doctor slipped and fell, injuring her face not 50 meters into the trek, clearly the gods were letting us know that this would not be an easy few days.

The trek was gruelling and the terrain was challenging, with steep hills covered in mud and constant rain making the going slow and the legs burn. When we arrived at the base camp we were all wet, muddy and totally exhausted.

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The base camp has no permanent structure. Our bags were dumped in the bag tent and we were shown our sleeping accommodation - a hammock in a tarpaulin tent. Operation Wallacea is a Science expedition, investigating and quantifying the impacts of deforestation and climate change on some of the most pristine environments and this was a new site for investigation. Wifi and Mobile coverage had been lost two days ago and our showering facilities - the local river - was testament to the newness of the site.

Our students were very much outside of their comfort zones and for the first 24 hours were very unsure. But, as always happens when faced with a challenge, our students rose to it and very soon had made good friends with the students from Sweden and mobile phones and endless texting had been replaced with cards, laughter and an endless stream of conversation. Over the next few days the students carried out a range of scientific studies from megafauna tracking, habitat surveys, butterfly surveys and night time bat catching - a personal favourite.

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As the week progressed the weather worsened but our spirits soared as the students threw themselves into the tasks, with even leeches becoming a minor annoyance as our lives moved with the daily cycles of camp life; checking the board for the next survey, preparing our equipment and grabbing a quick bite to eat whenever that was possible.

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The university students, academics and habitat specialists’ enthusiasm and passion soon started to rub off on our students so that, by the end of the week, our students were no longer students, but adults living in an adult world; independent, principled, risk-takers who were looking at the world through a very different lens and being opened up to some of the wider issues that are affecting the whole planet. Observing our students engage with university level academics over dinner, discussing bat populations, deforestation and climate change, was inspiring for me as an educator.

At the end of the week, we stomped out of the jungle, wet, muddy, thoroughly exhausted but very exhilarated, and back to relative civilization. That evening we re-stocked and the small village shops in Lebundo were subject to several small raiding parties of students for Oreos, crisps and other snacks. And that night I got to watch, in a small, bright yellow, smoke-filled room, on the only TV in the whole of Lebundo, England beat Panama 5-1. (to be continued)

Jon Clark
Head of Year 13