Bengaluru: Conquering new heights, a group of school students from the city climbed peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, recently during a 10-day expedition.
The teen mountaineers, who ascended 5,895 metres (19,341 feet) to reach Uhuru Peak in their first-ever expedition, were all girls aged between 13 and 16. Though the group from Indus International School in the city comprised 11 students – six girls and five boys, the team that successfully climbed the peak had Sahaat Poddar (Class 8), Geetha Damarapati, Saniya Patel and Prerna Agarwal (all from class11).
From humid rainforests to rainy grasslands to windy Alpine deserts and finally the snow-capped peak, the young team encountered climatic fluctuations, sub-zero temperatures and altitude sickness. However, nothing deterred them.
An ecstatic Prerna Agarwal told Deccan Chronicle that she was determined to reach the top right from her first step. “During moments of doubt, our teachers and guides kept our spirits high, making the climb seem like merely a matter of effort and discipline. This dream-come-true experience has taught me about setting and achieving challenging goals and learn in the best way possible,” she said.
The expedition, ‘Peak to Lead’, was led by Mitesh Singh, a trainer at the Indus School of Leadership (the in-house training institute at the school). On completing the trek, he said the experience was aimed to empower students with the qualities of grit, resilience and goal mindedness, which he believes, was achieved successfully. “Adversity can be quite revealing. It reveals the true qualities of a human being. It can also teach us some important lessons about ourselves and others giving us the skills to succeed in other aspects of our lives. The expedition to Kilimanjaro was one such endeavour,” he said. The last leg of the trek, which was the steep climb to the summit, happened at midnight.
It not only tested the students’ physical strength but their mental endurance as well, he said.
Congratulating the team, Col. Sathya Rao, Director, Indus School of Leadership, said, “Mountaineering is a spiritual sport that teaches the best leadership lessons and demands conquering the inner world. During the climb, the students faced extreme conditions – the weather was rough, unpredictable and chilling cold – but they overcame all the adversities and focused on their goal, eventually reaching the mountain peak. We believe that leadership is about learning to lead yourself first and then the others, which is best learnt through such experiences,” he said....