An 18-year-old girl from Kwa-Zulu Natal will be joining explorer Riaan Manser and a team of professors from Stellenbosch University on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica. The explorer said they did not want the top maths and science pupils, but pupils with potential and they thought they got very close to that.
Mountview Secondary School pupil, Thea Earnest who is awaiting her 2020 Matric results was selected to be part of inaugural Matrics in Antarctica adventure, is set to leave between the 20th and 30th of January 2021 with Ayakha Melithafa, Cobus Burger, Boiketlo Lamula and Kelby Barker, who will also be part of the adventure.
According to Earnest, “Matrics in Antarctica was an incredible opportunity brought to her by the school’s HOD of the Language Department, Meloshnee Pillay”. She will be engaging in experiments, work at a research station, camping adventures and a lot more.
“Being an individual who is extremely passionate about inclusive, progressive and sustainable development, especially when the environment is concerned, made this opportunity an incredible platform for me to voice my opinions,” said Earnest, who submitted her application and was successful.
The Mountview Secondary School pupil said she wrote an article explaining why saving the environment is important to her and what initiatives she engaged in, in order to allow her passions to bear fruition.
She was then shortlisted for the Top 100, after which she had to submit a 2–3-minute video explaining what her passions are, what set her apart as a matric pupil, and how she can use this experience to develop a culture of conservation in her community. She was shortlisted for the top 50 and then top 10. The final part of the selection process was an interview with the selection panel.
“This opportunity to journey with the best professors, scientists and explorers in the world to Antarctica will undoubtedly allow me to engage with the best as I aspire to become a geospatial scientist, wanting to study at Wits University in 2021. Collaborating with science and technology in order to conserve and preserve this planet has been a dream of mine,” said the future environment conserver.
Earnest said growing up, she always wanted to be a symbol of change in her community, where young women and people of colour can see their faces reflected in hers and know that change and mobilisation is possible. This has been her driving force growing up in her community in KZN.
“Without my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I would not be able to embody such passion and drive. His grace and mercy has seen me through one of the most turbulent yet rewarding school years of my life,” she added. Earnest noted that she was grateful to her supportive family, her father, mother and sister and her school.