Grantham students flying 5,720 miles to compete in Ecuador

Mrs Banfield, Riley and Tommy are excited about their trip to Ecuador.
Mrs Banfield, Riley and Tommy are excited about their trip to Ecuador.
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School trips are often fun for youngsters, but few are as exciting as the one which two 11-year-old pupils of the Grantham Preparatory International School are about to embark upon.

Today (Friday) will see star Year 6 students Riley Brown and Tommy Bealby fly to Ecuador, to take part in a special ‘cultural Olympics’ event.

Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

“It is the first time I will have been in the southern hemisphere,” said a visibly excited Riley. “And we get to go abroad without our parents!”

The trip of a lifetime has been made possible thanks to Grantham Prep being part of the SEK partnership, formed between schools all over the world, who meet annually to participate in either a sporting or academic competition.

This year, the SEK International School in Ecuador’s capital Quito will be hosting the jam-packed event, inviting not only its UK sister schools, but those from countries including the US, Hungary, Spain, the Caribbean, Chile and South Africa.

Throughout next week, the Grantham Prep pair will compete in a wide variety of activities, with Tommy particularly keen to try out the virtual reality headsets that will be available. The boys have also been busy creating a rocket, which they will launch alongside those of their competitors, as well as give a presentation on their work.

“We are very fortunate to be part of such a wonderful partnership, that brings an extra dimension to what we offer at the school,” said teacher Sian Banfield, who will accompany her pupils. “It is a huge opportunity for these two very bright boys.”

The trip will enable them to mix with those from other cultures. Students from the travelling schools will stay with local families, and the pair have been learning Spanish in preparation. Mrs Banfield and Riley say they are even willing to try the local delicacy of guinea pig.

“I think I will stick with fish and chips,” added Tommy.

Some interesting facts about Quito, Ecuador:

* At 9,350 ft above sea level, Quito is the highest official capital city in the world.

* It is located on a slope of an active volcano in the Andes mountains, called Pichincha.

* It was one UNESCO’s first World Cultural Heritage Sites.

* Although the city felt the recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake, it is about 175 miles from the worst affected regions.