Five Ark students from across the network are celebrating being awarded a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to take part in an all-expenses-paid trip to learn outdoor survival and adventure skills.
The students - from Ark Boulton Academy, Ark Globe Academy, Ark Kings Academy and Ark William Parker Academy - will take part in a three-week course through Outward Bound Canada, sponsored by the Stuart Horne Bursary.
As part of the programme, the students will hike through mountain ranges, learn to sea kayak and camp - ultimately developing independence and new skills.
The students underwent a rigorous application and interview process, including a phone interview to Canada, displaying their motivation, resilience, open-mindedness and physical fitness at each stage.
Ark Globe student Charlie Allen (pictured, right) said: “I remember finding out I’d got the place: I was having lunch in the school canteen when I found out and I just froze holding my fork. I was shaking, it was amazing to find out I’d done something that was going to make a really positive impact on my life."
Antonio Vargas, also from Ark Globe (pictured, left) said: “We’re going to be learning to survive in the wild for three weeks, which is really exciting. We’ve both picked multi-element experiences, so we’re going to be hiking in the mountains and sailing."
Ark Globe Principal Matt Jones said: “At Ark Globe Academy, we’re committed to providing students with transformative experiences – both in and outside of the classroom. The Stuart Horne Bursary is an outstanding opportunity for Charlie and Antonio to learn new skills and gain independence in a new setting.”
Ark Boulton student Amna Khan said: “I never thought I was going to get chosen – it’s impossible! I want to step out of my own little bubble – I want to do something different. I don’t want to just live like everyone else – I want to do something and make a change.
“I hope that I will be really confident when I come back. I’m so shy talking to people and I feel like this will help me to be more confident in myself and in talking to people – as well as making a lot of memories.”
Ark William Parker student Adam Pearson said: "I didn’t for one minute think that I would have been chosen; it’s such an amazing opportunity, so when I was picked it felt incredible!”