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Enlightenment Lecture: Alex Hibbert

'We were fortunate enough to be able to attend a fascinating lecture from Alex Hibbert yesterday. Being new to the school, I didn't know what to expect. I assumed it would be a mundane speech about following a certain path. Which nowadays is finishing school with high results, attending university and obtaining a decent job.

To my surprise this had nothing to do with being pressured into conformity. Quite on the contrary. Alex Hibbert talked about how he too was following this predestined path but realised somewhere along the way that there is more to life than just surviving it. Life is meant to be lived. And for him, this was to become an Arctic Explorer. He had the courage to take off and explore his vocation. He had the courage to try and make his dream a reality. But most of all, he wasn't restrained by unforeseen challenges. When things in his expedition didn't go as planned, he had the capacity to adapt to the circumstances and to rise above them. He had a clear goal and he pursued it. This can only lead to a deeply satisfying life. Because if there is anything worth fearing in this life, it is living in such a way that gives us cause for regret.

If I learnt anything from this wonderful and insightful lecture, it would be to stray away from the path that is expected from us. It would be to find a vocation that gives meaning, fulfillment, flow and freedom to my life.'

Isadora Klene (Lower Sixth, Queen Anne)

'I come across a wide range of approaches as to how schools might educate their young people and launch them into the wider world. Some are conservative; some are intentionally radical; some are lacking direction or vision. I was left with an overwhelming sense of optimism having visited Cokethorpe and met the teenagers who are about to make their own journeys - both literal and figurative. There was an energy, a positivity, and above all a self-esteem which typifies the very best that independent sector education can offer. It was also abundantly clear that the staff absolutely adore their jobs and that whilst with a measured authority, their interaction with the students was warm, supportive and representative of what they will experience when they leave formal education. A real gem of a school nestled in wonderfully attractive surroundings.'

Alex Hibbert, Arctic Guide and Photographer

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