Everest dream for pupils

Pupils from the William Henry Smith School, Rastrick, taking part in the Highest Classroom on Earth competition. Pictured at Mount Snowdonia, Wales. Mr Barrie Campbell, Josh Simpson (15), Jack Smith (14), Mr Wayne Codman
Pupils from the William Henry Smith School, Rastrick, taking part in the Highest Classroom on Earth competition. Pictured at Mount Snowdonia, Wales. Mr Barrie Campbell, Josh Simpson (15), Jack Smith (14), Mr Wayne Codman

Two young hikers are scaling the country’s tallest mountains to win a place to climb up to Mount Everest’s base camp.

Jack Smith and Josh Simpson from the William Henry Smith School in Rastrick are part of 16 students entering the next stage of the selection process to be part of The Highest Classroom on Earth.

Pupils from the William Henry Smith School, Rastrick, taking part in the Highest Classroom on Earth competition. Pictured at Mount Snowdonia, Wales. Mr Barrie Campbell, Josh Simpson (15), Jack Smith (14), Mr Wayne Codman

Pupils from the William Henry Smith School, Rastrick, taking part in the Highest Classroom on Earth competition. Pictured at Mount Snowdonia, Wales. Mr Barrie Campbell, Josh Simpson (15), Jack Smith (14), Mr Wayne Codman

In this ground breaking ‘Extreme Classroom’ BBC documented initiative created by The Springfields Academy, the final eight will climb to the Everest base camp at the foot of the Khumbra Icefall.

Brendan Heneghan, head teacher at the William Henry Smith School, said: “The weekend was a huge challenge for the students - even just completing these tasks was a huge achievement, let alone Everest.

“I am delighted that Josh and Jack have made it through to the last 16 and wish them the best of luck for the next training and selection stage in June.’

Jack, 14, and Josh, 15, have already climbed some of the highest mountains in Snowdonia, Wales.

Along with staff members Barrie Campbell and Wayne Codman, they hiked the 12km Slateman Route - a stretch which is part of the Slateman Triathlon.

They then climbed Snowdon at an elevation of 1,085m and were joined on their journey by polar explorer Alan Chambers, MBE, a renowned, determined and inspirational figure most known for his expeditions.

On the hike with the Rastrick students he said: “I was thoroughly impressed by the students’ determination.

“They tackled the trek with such strength of mind, and the sense of communal support was felt by all participants.

“I have every faith that the selected students will excel at Everest in The Highest Classroom on Earth.”

All the students, chosen from applications with complex learning difficulties and challenging behaviour from across the UK, have pushed themselves to tackle Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. With a wake up call at 5.30am, the trekkers ate a hearty breakfast and packed up the camp on below freezing temperatures of -5C within an hour.

The third stage of the training and selection process will see Jack and Josh take part in the Rock and Road Wales 24 Ultra 200, on Friday June 21 in North Wales.

They will face the task of climbing the Three Peaks: Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain and Britain’s third highest, with an elevation of 3,560ft, along with the mountains of Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan.