AUSTRALIAN of the Year Craig Challen inspired more than 500 Applecross Senior High School students on May 14 during a talk.
Students heard stories of the heroic efforts that Dr Challen and his dive partner Richard Harris undertook as part of an international rescue mission to save twelve boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand in July 2018.
Principal Paul Leech said the school contacted Auspire – Australia Day Council of WA to invite Dr Challen to speak to their students as part of their Mutual Respect and Personal Best program and they were thrilled to secure the opportunity.
“Dr Challen’s presentation was both captivating and inspiring for our students to listen to, his ‘can do’ attitude to life resonated well with them,” he said.
“Students were enthralled with Dr Challen’s story and took the opportunity to ask a barrage of questions.”
Dr Challen spoke of the complexities of the mission, the importance of teamwork and his personal aspirations to strive for excellence in all aspects of his life but to retain a level of humility. He encouraged students to get involved in a range of activities and get excited about learning new skills.
Following the student sessions, Dr Challen said he was keen to speak to as many school groups as possible during this year to share the rescue story, but more importantly encourage young people to get out and challenge themselves.
Auspire chief executive Morgen Lewis said they were proud to have a WA recipient as one of this year’s Australians of the Year.
“Dr Challen is proving to be an extremely popular choice and has a busy schedule, including many school visits, planned in the coming months,” she said.
“Craig and Harry will be a tough team to follow but we encourage people to nominate the next Australian of the Year”.