Zachary Elliot’s passion for geography won him a trip to Iceland and the accolade of being named Outstanding Geography Student by Discover the World and the Geographical Association.
The 14-year-old, who has just returned from the five-day Iceland adventure, won the prize and award after writing an essay on: ‘How has volcanic activity shaped Iceland’s landscape?’
He said he chose this out of six essay subjects because, ‘I was interested in how plate tectonics shaped the country.’
Judges chose his essay because the style is ‘sharp, succinct and answers the question from the outset. The essay creates very clear pictures of the different physical and human landscapes that exist and the reasoning behind their formation and appearances today. The essay has had to marshal a considerable amount of information into a sequence that flows very well.’
It was, Zachary said, ‘a big surprise’ to win the national competition, and the first time Castle Rushen High School has taken part.
The idea of the competition is to inspire young geographers and the Iceland trip certainly did that.
He said: ‘It was an opportunity to explore my passion even further. The highlight was a glacier hike, the Northern Lights and we saw them when we were in the Blue Lagoon, which was absolutely incredible. It was even more impressive than I thought it would be.’
He wrote very eloquently about the trip - which he made with geography teachers Emma Metcalfe, Tom Kelly and students Caitlin Gelding and Thomas Young, both 14 - in an essay for the organisations behind the award.
He said: ‘As a young geographer, this remarkable trip has inspired me to further my studies in this field and has encouraged me to search for a career linked with this subject.
‘I encourage all young aspiring geographers to enter this award to be inspired by the wonders that our planet holds.’
He thanked organisers for this ‘once in a lifetime experience.’