North Delta student awarded scholarship to explore the Arctic

Abhayjeet Sachal, a grade 10 student at Seaquam Secondary, receives $12,000 scholarship to explore the Arctic with Students on Ice.

Abhayjeet Sachal is beginning his exploration of the Arctic this week, as part of a group of 120 students taking part in Students On Ice.

The Grade 10 Seaquam Secondary student will join students from various parts of the world in an intensive learning experience.

Students on Ice was founded in 2000 by Geoff Green to bring together “a global network of expert scientists, educators, elders, artists, musicians, historians, journalists, industry leaders and more,” the organization’s website states. “These world-class experts make up SOI’s education team. During the expedition, they engage with youth from around the world through an educational journey, connecting with the polar regions in hands-on, cross-disciplinary learning – an experience we refer to as The Greatest Classrooms on Earth.”

Sachal received a $12,000 scholarship from the U.S. embassy to take part in the expedition. He is very excited about the opportunity.

“We will be discussing solutions for climate change. We will hear traditional knowledge and gain a new respect for our world and the Arctic,” he said.

He said he has been interested in northern regions for a long time, ever since he took a trip to Alaska with his family when he was young.

Sachal said he looks forward to meeting people from different backgrounds and learning what they are doing about environmental issues in their areas.

“I want to bring those ideas back to Delta School District and hopefully we can adopt some of those programs.”

He was interviewed by CBC prior to leaving for the trip, and plans to share photos and videos of his trip with CBC and The Reporter.

Sachal is interested in science, but is not yet sure what career he will pursue.

“I will see where my path takes me,” he said.

Students On Ice takes place from Thursday, July 21 to Friday, August 5. The students will initially meet in Ottawa, and then travel to Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec, and also to Greenland. They will also travel by ship aroundBaffin Island in Nunavut.

Sachal has been an active part of the Seaquam Environmental Club, also known as Operation Green. It organized and hosted the Delta Green Symposium in March, which featured scientist and Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver as the guest speaker.

Club members helped turn the school’s memorial garden into a rain garden, working with Delta Streamkeepers. The club is also working with other Delta high school envi- ronment clubs to help get Boundary Bay beach certified through a United Nations-affiliated environmental program.

The club is under the sponsorship of teacher Michael Iachetta. He said Sachal is the first Seaquam student to ever take part in the Students on Ice program, and it is unusual for a Grade 10 student to be asked to take part in the program. He said Sachal is an excellent choice for Students On Ice.

To learn more about Students On Ice, see studentsonice.com.

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