Life-changing journey for Lochgelly High School pupils

Youngsters and teachers from Lochgelly High School are gearing up for a challenge of a lifetime, taking their physical and mental strengths to new limits.

10 pupils, aged between 14 and 17-years-of-age, and the school’s head teacher, are embarking on an expedition in the wilds of Greenland as part of a unique project which aims to help youngsters experiencing issues with low self-esteem and confidence.

The 12-day expedition is being made possible thanks to The Polar Academy, a charity which each year gives young people the opportunity to take part in a life-changing experience. The charity works with Scottish schools to select candidates most likely to benefit from training and preparation, the expedition, and then, participation in community networking to share their experiences, on their return.

Fife Sports and Leisure Trust’s gym staff  (back row) Matthew Spence, Clare Mitchie and Keeley Briars are on hand to help the team from Lochgelly High School with their fitness preparation, (front row left to right) Daisy George, Morgan Adam, Kieran Burns, Lauren Scott, Carrie Wotherspoon, Carla Masterton.

The participants from Lochgelly High School will receive support from us with Leisure Active memberships so that they, and a parent or guardian, can access its facilities free of charge and train to meet the physical challenges of the expedition.

Sharon Johnstone, area leisure manager for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, said: “We are really excited to be working with students and teachers from Lochgelly High School – we are hopeful that the access to our facilities through our Leisure Active membership scheme will help them prepare physically and mentally for the demands of the journey ahead of them.

“The trust is committed to getting more people more active more of the time, and in particular, sees fostering a positive attitude to physical activity in young people as a good way of developing a lifelong interest in keep active. Our qualified gym staff will be on hand to help the students make the most of their workouts so that they get the best results.”

Carol Ann Penrose, Headteacher at Lochgelly High School, said: “We were delighted to have been chosen as the Polar Academy School for Scotland.  This is a chance in a lifetime for our young people and ties in directly with the school’s core message to our young people, which is that with hard work and self-belief you can achieve anything. 

“We have been working with Craig and the Polar Academy team since June this year and they have been a true inspiration.  We can already see a difference in the young people’s confidence, their resilience and their fitness levels.  This generous offer from Fife Sports and  Leisure Trust will only help us even further and we are extremely grateful for their support ”

Craig Mathieson, founder and head of Polar Academy, said: “For me personally, it’s a true privilege to work with the pupils, parents and staff of Lochgelly High School. The pupils are currently going through an extremely intense fitness programme, helped enormously by the amazing staff at Fife Sports and Leisure Trust.

“Once complete, they will embark on an expedition which will totally change their perspective on what can be achieved in life. They will return as true role models for their community, able to clearly show their peers that they too can achieve great things if they are willing to put the hard work in.”


Lochgelly High School Expedition Team

Carla Masterton –15 years

Carrie Wotherspoon –15 years

Connor Harper –16 years

Daisy George – 15 years

Hannah Reid – 15 years

Josh Farmer – 15 years

Kieran Burns – 14 years

Lauren Scott – 15 years

Megan Hargrave – 16 years

Morgan Adam – 15 years