Once a term we invite a guest speaker to come and talk to the children. The theme of our talks has been Resilience, a topic so important for children in a private school environment to understand. Over the last couple of years, we have welcomed climbers, adventurers, educationalists and elite sportsmen into school to inspire the children and to remind them that it is ok to fail, it is ok to be different and that if you really want to achieve something, then you need to work really hard.
Some of our recent speakers are below:
Charlie is a British adventurer, writer, photographer and motivational speaker. He specialises in long distance, human-powered expeditions and has travelled by bicycle, foot, horse and dugout canoe. In 2016 Charlie came to talk to us about his longest expedition, a 43,000-mile bicycle journey reaching the furthest cape in each of Europe, Asia and Africa before returning home. On this journey he traversed 60 countries, encountering extremes of weather, remoteness and physical exhaustion during the four and a half years he was away.
Following a sixteen year career in several boarding schools, James Shone was appointed as headmaster to Monkton Prep School in 2012. During his medical assessment a brain tumour was discovered. Over the coming months James underwent two massive operations spending 11 weeks in hospital; the operations saved his life but took most of his sight. Further to this, James had to relinquish a dream job, undergo radiotherapy and then set off into a new future without employment or buoyant health. James is a man who embodies a positive attitude to life and a determination to turn setbacks into springboards. As a housemaster, this was at the heart of his pastoral message and was a message he inspired the children with when he came to Eagle House.
Before becoming the 14th Master of Wellington College, Julian Thomas embarked on a 600 mile trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. Julian had to haul his own sledge and try not to succumb to cold so intense that it freezes a man’s sweat even inside a snow suit. Only 300 people have successfully completed this challenge. Julian shared the highs and lows of his trip with the kids, who were completely inspired by the commitment and dedication it takes to achieve such a feat.
Mollie Hughes is a Mountaineer, Adventurer and Motivational Speaker based in Edinburgh, Scotland. On the 19th May 2012 Mollie became one of the youngest British climbers to stand on top of the world when she summited Mount Everest, at the age of just 21. After 18 months of rigorous training, two months living in the harsh mountain environment and 18 hours climbing in the oxygen less world above 8,000m – Mollie completed her challenge. Our children loved hearing from someone much closer to their own age and were also captivated by her “inspiring young kids” workshop.
Ryan is a long jumper with cerebral palsy targeting the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020. He is a former world champion and current world junior record holder in his discipline. Ryan says, " I want to show people it doesn't matter what background you come from, what disability you have, or what start in life you've had, you can still achieve things.” Ryan spoke passionately about all the hardships and knocks he has faced over his life, and what he has done to get over them. He was a truly inspiring speaker. Ryan also ran an athletics masterclass for some of our aspiring athletes.
Mark, is a member of staff at Eagle House, as well as a former International Hockey player. He was a member of the England and Great Britain squads, making his debut for England against the Netherlands in the 1995 Champions Trophy in Berlin. He scored his first international goal against India in the tournament to become the youngest player to score for England at just 18 years old. He participated in two Summer Olympics in 2000 and 2004, as well as in the 1998 and 2002 Men's Hockey World Cup. He retired in 2005, but returned to international hockey in 2011 at the age of 34 to challenge for a place in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Having played in the 2011 London Cup, the 2011 European Championship and 2011 Champions Trophy he was not selected and retired for the second time in 2013. For many of our pupils, Mark was 'just a maths teacher', so to hear his story and to hear how even the very best at their sports have to deal with setbacks, was amazing for the children.