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Pauline Askin Shares Antarctic Experience with Holy Trinity School

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On Oct. 26, Pauline Askin shared her journey and life lessons from her time spent in Antarctic with Holy Trinity School students.  The presentation provided an opportunity for students to learn about other parts of the world, perseverance, teamwork, and survival.

Pauline Askin, is the Editorial Office manager for Thomson Reuters, based in Sydney, Australia.  In the summer of 2009-2010, she was selected to be part of an expedition to conserve Australia’s century-old wooden huts built by Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson whose endeavors led to Australia claiming 47 percent of the frozen continent.  Pauline’s role was to provide multi-media coverage for Reuters as well as helping out with day to day duties on the frozen continent.

Her journey began in Hobart, Tasmania where she sailed in a 65.5 foot (20 meters) icebreaker for six days in the southern ocean amid gale force winds, giant swells, vast open spaces and eventually, icebergs.  When the ship reached its destination in the early hours of the morning, the Mawsons’ Huts team were air lifted by helicopter onto the ice before the ship pulled away leaving them to spend the summer season in complete isolation, surviving the notorious katabatic wind that howls down the plateau at about 120 kph (74.5 miles), air temperatures that averaged – 20 degrees Celsius (-68 Fahrenheit) and Adélie penguins that chatted all night long outside her tent. 

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The challenges Pauline faced included sleep deprivation in 24 hours a daylight, environmental issues with technology, living in a tent in the windiest place on earth, coping with basic sanitary conditions, and living in an environment with nine other people where their nearest neighbors were 200 kilometers away. 

Pauline returned to a hero’s welcome amongst her colleagues in the newsroom and received ‘the best of the best’ award for her multi-media efforts which included providing footage of ice melt during the Copenhagen climate change summit and made headlines worldwide with the news that her expedition had found the remains of the first aircraft ever brought to Antarctica. Her footage of discovery was the most-watched video on BBC Web site for two days.

“I liked hearing about how books and bottles were 100 years old.  They looked new since they were frozen in ice” said one second grade student.

“Her story about her survival was neat.  I really enjoyed her presentation” said a fourth grade student.

A teacher commented, “Her experience was so exciting.  Pauline did a lovely job engaging all students.  Her photos were extraordinary.”

Since 1916, Holy Trinity School has provided a quality Catholic education to Westfield and the surrounding communities. A 2011 National Blue Ribbon and a Middle States accredited school, its mission is to educate students to actualize their full, individual potential both spiritually and academically.

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