COLRAIN, Mass. – Ryann Stacy is soon heading to the “white continent” at the bottom of the world.
The Hotchkiss School junior, who lives in Colrain with her mother Linda, father Barry, and 19-year-old brother, Dana, when she isn’t away at the Connecticut boarding school, has always dreamed about traveling, but never thought one of her first “big trips” would be to a place so remote that very few people ever see it in person.
Ryann will leave for Antarctica with 89 other Hotchkiss students on Saturday and will return home Jan. 22.
The 16-year-old said she got the opportunity to go on the school-sponsored trip after writing an essay to the dean of students about why she’d like to go and why the school should want her to go. She had to explain what she thought she could contribute to the school when she returns and what she thought she’d take away from it all.
Of the 597 students at Hotchkiss, 15 boys and 15 girls were chosen from the sophomore, junior and senior classes.
A scholarship student at the prestigious coeducational prep school, Ryann said she thought she could bring a “different perspective” back to her classmates, because some of them have had the means to take trips like this one throughout their entire lives.
The trip is meant to be fun and educational, with a series of lectures on the flora, fauna and history of Antarctica being given on the four-day cruise to the bottom of the world. South Georgia is one of the most remote islands in the world and has a mountainous, rugged interior, according to Hotchkiss. Students will head to the beaches and plains of the island while docked there.
Finally, from Jan. 14 through Jan. 18, students will explore the Antarctic peninsula.
Barry Stacy said he has a lot of confidence in his daughter. “She’ll do just fine away from us,” he said. “There are going to be lots of rules and they’ll keep our kids safe.”