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Penguins galore... another Shackleton visits St Leonards

Published on isbi School News dated Saturday 1st of May 2010

Graeme Mutch, PR Officer at St Leonards School in St Andrews, contributed this story of a significant visit... 'A very special guest has helped St Leonards School to celebrate the anniversary of a treasured moment in its history.

One hundred years to the day after the legendary Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton opened the Science department at the St Andrews school, his granddaughter, the Honourable Alexandra Shackleton, paid a visit to St Leonards to mark the occasion.

Ms Shackleton toured the School and spoke to the students about her grandfather's achievements and enduring legacy before accepting a commemorative bowl from Headmaster Dr Michael Carslaw.

On his visit to St Leonards, Sir Ernest had been greeted by schoolgirls wearing penguin costumes, a sight by which he was apparently not particularly amused.

However, when youngsters from the junior section of the school greeted Alexandra in similar style the reaction was more positive!

'It's lovely to see the children dressed up as penguins,' she said, before informing the youngsters that there are 17 species of the flightless bird.

She continued, 'I'm delighted to be here to help St Leonards celebrate the centenary of the opening of the Science wing.
'The Headmaster had the strange idea of inviting me along!'

Alexandra, who, in her role as President of the James Caird Society, works to preserve and honour the remarkable feats of her grandfather, revealed why she thought his exploits continued to provide inspiration the world over.

'The leadership skills he displayed were the cause of an upsurge of interest in the 1990s. He got to know each of his men very well and encouraged them to show loyalty to each other and to the expedition as a whole. My grandfather got to within 97 miles of the South Pole. It must have been hard to turn back but his priority was his men. He thought that life was the most important thing.'

Dr Michael Carslaw said, 'It's great to be able to welcome Alexandra to the School, 100 years to the day since her grandfather's visit. Back then the opening of a science department for girls was a pioneering move but, of course, things have moved on in the century since, not least with St Leonards moving from being all-girls to being the fully co-educational school it is today. The boys and girls were extremely interested to hear Alexandra talk about her grandfather. His achievements and leadership qualities resonate as strongly now as they did in the past and are a great inspiration for young people.' All in all a very inspiring day.'

The pictures show the black and white penguins of 1910 and the full colour version of 2010
Penguins galore... another Shackleton visits St Leonards - Photo 1Penguins galore... another Shackleton visits St Leonards - Photo 2
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