An Interview with Rebecca

30843_rebecca_leiler_9g_07Rebecca Leiler from Year 10 is going to represent the Bangkok Patana School Community on a ten day expedition to Antarctica this coming March, 2017. This is an incredible opportunity for our school but how did it come to be?

Robert Swan (OBE) was one of our keynote speakers at the educators’ conference for Global Citizenship hosted at Bangkok Patana on the 20th and 21st October. Robert is a polar explorer who was the first person to reach both the South and North Pole unassisted. He has made it his lifelong mission to raise awareness about the future of Antarctica – “Earth’s last Wilderness” – and, in so doing, raise awareness of the environmental threats facing the planet at large. He gave a presentation to all of our academic staff as well as visiting educators from outside of the school. In the afternoon of Thursday 20th October he delivered a similarly inspiring presentation to parents and students from Year 3 upwards.

To prepare for his visit, we had a skype conversation with Robert before term started. He told us that if we were to really make his visit have a lasting impact, we should send one member of staff and one student from the school on his International Antarctic Expedition. This is a major annual event for his wider 2041 organisation and one which helps to fulfil the following mission:

The Mission of 2041 is to inspire, stimulate and connect organizations and communities who seek to protect our world and create a more sustainable, clean energy future.

The real purpose of the expedition is to help connect present and future leaders from countries across the world into life-long advocates for Antarctica and the environment in general. Through attending, participants immerse themselves in the ‘leadership on the edge’ programme. Participants learn from global experts on today’s issues of climate change and energy use while undertaking life lessons on leadership and team building as well as embracing unique wildlife experiences.

A rigorous application process was undertaken to select the right student from Year 9 upwards. In Round 1, applicants had to submit a written application before they could reach Round 2 which involved a formal interview with Jackie Houghton, Kirsten Bennett and James Penstone.

All 7 students who made it to Round 2 really impressed the panel with their passion and commitment. It was a very tough decision to make, but we are very happy to introduce Rebecca Leiler in Year 10 as our chosen Bangkok Patana Student representative. Here is a short interview with Rebecca.

Cross Campus Principal, James Penstone with Student Representative Rebecca Leiler

Cross Campus Principal, James Penstone with Student Representative Rebecca Leiler

An Interview with Rebecca Leiler, Year 10, Student Representative for the International Antarctic Expedition 2017. 

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a Year 10 student who has been at Bangkok Patana for five years. Before then, I attended schools in China, Germany and South Africa. I live with my Mum, Dad, sister (Year 11) and brother (Year 4). I consider myself extremely passionate. I am strong willed and very dedicated.

How did you feel when you heard that you had been selected to represent Bangkok Patana’s students on the IAE 2017 expedition?
I felt as if April Fools’ day came a few months early. After the initial shock wore off, I was over the moon and was very humbled to have been chosen.

How did your family react?
The reaction that I got from my family was disbelieving yet endlessly proud.

What are your friends saying about you going on the expedition?
My friends are ecstatic for me, when speaking to them you get the impression that they’re the ones actually going.

Why do you think this expedition is so important?
The world is changing very quickly before the human race and generation after generation ignore the mes-sages our Earth is sending. We mistakenly think the next of kin will be the ones to clean the mess up. I believe in immediate action and taking responsibility and, by doing that, preserving the places on earth that need our help the most; Antarctica being on the top of my list.

You are representing all of Bangkok Patana’s students for this experience. How do you think you will do that?
Bangkok Patana stands for raising responsible Global Citizens. I strongly believe with this expedition I represent the spirit of our school of raising global awareness for the preservation of our planet, for generations to come.

What three things are you looking forward to most in this experience?
Stepping foot on the elusive sixth continent; Going as close as can be to the ‘end’ of the world; Experiencing the world on my own.

What do you expect the three main challenges to be ?
I embrace all the challenges that come my way and tackle them head on. However, the biggest challenge I feel that I will face, would be the travelling.

What are you planning on doing to prepare for the expedition?
Sleeping in the Austrian mountains in winter. Educating myself about polar expeditions and learning more about Antarctica, particularly of the environmental impacts.

How will you cope with the rest of your school life, now that you have this huge opportunity before you?
Improve my time management, giving up some of my leisure time, during the steps and preparation time.

What do you expect to happen when you come back from the expedition?
Other than a hug? I want to keep preserving Antarctica and help fulfil Robert Swan’s vision.

How do you think this experience might change you?
I think this experience will further boost my confidence and enable me to tackle future challenges cast my way.

This post featured in Volume 19 Issue 6 of Patana News

To support Rebecca in her journey from Bangkok to Antarctica, click here.

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