Pupils preparing for challenging trip

The opportunity to travel to Nepal and trek to Everest base camp was too good to pass up for...
The opportunity to travel to Nepal and trek to Everest base camp was too good to pass up for these Mount Aspiring College pupils, along with teachers Dan Cullen (centre left) and Jane Watson-Taylor (centre). Photo: Sean Nugent
A group of Mount Aspiring College pupils are preparing themselves for a trip of a lifetime to Nepal next year, which will include a trek to Everest base camp lying over 5000m above sea level.

Twenty-three year 10 to 13 pupils will travel with teachers Jane Watson-Taylor and Dan Cullen to the Himalayan peaks next April as part of school expedition programme World Challenge.

The pupils  have been tasked with raising about $8500 each  and will lead the trip themselves,  taking up roles such as financial manager and health and safety manager to ensure a well-organised and safe experience.

It will be the first time a New Zealand school has trekked to Everest base camp as part of the programme, and is one the most difficult expeditions school pupils can do.

"Most trips from here go to Southeast Asia, but those trips are quite easy so we wanted something that would really push the pupils out of their comfort zones. Basically, we’re doing the hardest trip we can do," Mr Cullen said.

The trip garnered huge interest from the pupils from day one and 37 were at the first meeting. Mrs Watson-Taylor said that number had dropped due to the financial pressure.

Nikita Sinclair (14) is one pupil going.

"I feel like Wanaka is in quite a bubble and to get out there would be quite interesting, especially to experience a different culture," she said.

All of the pupils have secured part-time jobs and are organising regular group fundraising over the next few months.

Also on the itinerary are  a service project at a Nepalese school, whitewater rafting and sight-seeing.

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