Sadly for us, Helen left the school last year and she is now teaching in South America carrying out similar activities. But like any idea that is truly valuable ECO Beasts has not faded away without her. It is going from strength to strength not least because it articulates the real and urgent need for global action. There are now two teachers leading the push towards having a sustainable school and community.
Last week something rather wonderful happened. In London, at a meeting of 250 schools and educational organisations from around the world, a little school on the edge of Bangkok was awarded International School of the Year 2020. St Andrews entered the competition on the basis of its work on sustainability and won that category and because of the ECO Beasts program making an impact far beyond the school boundaries, it was seen as exceptional enough to win the overall competition.
Teachers are in the transformation and empowerment business. We are good at creating safe, caring environments where learning can flourish. Helen Mullen did that too, but she also did something quite extraordinary. She was able to find a way to make change not just for the few hundred children she taught directly in St Andrews, but to impact on dozens of other schools in Thailand, thousands of students throughout the country. As the principles she taught are embraced more and more widely, we can see a way for the preservation of the whole world for now and for generations to come.
So thank you, Helen. It was an honour to have worked with you. Your energy and inspiration are changing the world. Thank you for protecting the flower from the plough.