Former St Swithun’s student Captain Zanna Baker and her fellow Ice Maiden team mates have made history. Together they broke an Antarctic record by becoming the first all-female group to cross the continent using only their own muscle power. The six-strong team travelled more than 1,000 miles in 62 days, each pulling a sledge of equipment weighing 80kg. St Swithun’s School has been celebrating this inspirational achievement over the last month.
Year 4 pupils took part in a ‘Polar Day’, where pupils discovered the clothing, food and equipment they would need to survive in polar-regions like Antarctica, and had the chance to try on some of the gear themselves. They also learned about the dangers of crevasses, and ended the day by making their very own glaciers from plasticine and cornflour.
St Swithun’s junior school head Rebecca Lyons-Smith said “We are incredibly proud of what Zanna has achieved. She is a true inspiration to everybody at the school. Our students are really enjoying learning about polar-regions, and the challenges that explorers can face”.
Pupils in the upper sixth used the Ice Maiden’s achievements to examine what teamwork coupled with great captaincy can achieve during one of their leadership training days. Sixth form student Somtonna Anyansi said “The story of Zanna’s expedition helped bring to life how the exercises we were doing, such as group debates or building a Lego bridge, can have actual impact in our real life performance. Zanna has demonstrated what we can accomplish by learning to be a good leader, and also a good team player”.
This isn’t the first time that St Swithun’s has had interest in the ice continent. In 1910, the school sponsored Captain Robert F Scott’s ultimately ill-fated Terra Nova expedition, and proudly houses a letter of thanks from Captain Scott acknowledging the donation.