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Barking Abbey pupils ‘overwhelmed’ to see their flags flying in Antarctica

PUBLISHED: 13:56 17 November 2020 | UPDATED: 13:56 17 November 2020

Maria Ahsen's flag flies in Antarctica. Picture: Barking Abbey School

Maria Ahsen's flag flies in Antarctica. Picture: Barking Abbey School

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Two competition-winning pupils have seen flags they designed planted at the South Pole.

Esther Alatishe's flag shows a map of the frozen continent surrouned by flags of nations which lay claim to parts of it. Picture: Barking Abbey SchoolEsther Alatishe's flag shows a map of the frozen continent surrouned by flags of nations which lay claim to parts of it. Picture: Barking Abbey School

The flags, by Maria Ahsen and Esther Alatishe from Barking Abbey School, were taken to Antarctica by researchers and explorers where they flew proudly in the frozen wilderness.

Maria said: “I am completely overwhelmed and happy that my little penguin is half way around the world in Antarctica.

“It’s almost as if I’m there myself. I would really like to thank my teacher, Miss Jasper, for giving me the wonderful opportunity.”

Esther added: “I never would’ve thought that I’d have a flag in Antarctica. This achievement has inspired me to do more and be even more creative.”

The Year 9 pupil went on to thank the people who travelled to the continent carrying the two banners which they picked up in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Headteacher Tony Roe said: “We place no limits on our pupils’ ambitions and knowing that Barking Abbey is being represented at the South Pole is simply amazing.

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“Esther and Maria are both credits to their community and we are so proud of them.”

The competition winners drew up their designs while in Year 8 as part of a geography project about the area, which is almost twice the size of Australia and has a 4km thick ice sheet.

Maria’s flag depicts a penguin while Esther’s shows a map of the continent surrounded by the flags of countries which claim sections of it, including Great Britain, France and Australia.

Geography teacher, Isabel Jasper, said: “Maria and Esther are both incredibly hard-working students, and as their teacher, I was always very proud of the work they produced in geography lessons.

“It is great that their positive attitude and fantastic work ethic has been rewarded in this unique way.”

The project was timed to coincide with Antarctica Day which was started in 2010 by the foundation, Our Spaces, to teach youngsters about the continent as an area of the planet where nations work together.

Our Spaces itself emerged out of the Antarctic Treaty Summit which was devised 61 years ago on December 1, 1959 to protect the icy area’s ecology.

The treaty set aside all territorial claims to the place, banning military exercises, mining, and other non-scientific activities.


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