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Girl Reaches Top Of Mount Everest

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Mt. Everest. Image: Rdevany
Mt. Everest. Image: Rdevany

This story was originally published on TKN June 9, 2014.

Malavath Poorna, 13, has become the youngest girl ever to climb Mount Everest.

Everest is the highest mountain in the world and has defeated hundreds of climbers over many years. It is part of the Himalayan mountain range and is almost 9,000 metres above sea level.

This climb was even more amazing because Malavath Poorna belongs to India’s lowest caste or social group. In India, the caste you are born into affects your entire life. The Dalits, Poorna’s caste, are deprived from birth. They have fewer chances for an education and a job than those in a higher caste and often live in extreme poverty.

Poorna was chosen for this climbing expedition along with others of her social group. She had never climbed a mountain before but her desire to encourage other poor young people overcame her fears.

Instead of climbing on the Nepal side, which most climbers do, Poorna climbed on the other side of Mount Everest – the Tibetan side – which is harder.

It took her 52 days to complete the climb. She knew it was dangerous. In fact, while she was climbing, an avalanche on the other side of the mountain killed 16 people.

But she was determined to be an inspiration to other young people and show them that even though she was poor, she and others could accomplish many things.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Malavath Poorna wanted to inspire others by climbing Mt. Everest. Do you believe she was successful? Can accomplishing a difficult task, like climbing Mt. Everest, change the way people think?

Reading Prompt: Comprehension Strategies
Compare Malavath Poorna’s achievement with those of Lydia Ko and Emily Carr. What characteristics/personality traits do these young girls share?

Primary & Junior
Identify a variety of reading comprehension strategies and use them appropriately before, during, and after reading to understand texts (OME, Reading: 1.3).

Intermediate
Identify a variety of reading comprehension strategies and use them appropriately before, during, and after reading to understand increasingly complex texts (OME, Reading: 1.3).

Language Feature: Em Dash ( – )

An Em Dash is a punctuation mark that can be used at times just like a comma. For example, in today’s article, an em dash is used to show additional information.

Instead of climbing on the Nepal side, which most climbers do, Poorna climbed on the other side of Mount Everest – the Tibetan side – which is harder.

The difference between using two commas and two em dashes in this sentence is emphasis. When a reader sees an em dash – instead of a comma – they are being signalled to pay special attention to the text.

With this lesson in mind, why might the author have chosen commas instead of em dashes for the sentence below?

The Dalits, Poorna’s caste, are deprived from birth.