The Duke of Edinburgh program is an internationally recognised award that invites young people aged 14-25 to realise their ambitions and to change their world. Run in over 130 countries, the Duke of Ed is designed over three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. To achieve each level, young people create their own unique program of activities over a set length of time across four sections:
- Physical Recreation
- Adventurous Journey
Young people challenge themselves by choosing activities that spark their interest in each section and setting their own goals.
This program is about individual choice; young people tailor their Award, develop their career aspirations and push their own boundaries and comfort zones as they forge skills that go beyond academic success and help carry them from adolescence to adulthood.
Many students in Years 9 and 10 in a school such as Tintern Grammar would engage in some form of physical recreation and skill based activity and may find it quite easy to commit to the minimum of 1 hour a week over 3 or 6 months to complete these particular aspects of the award. As one gets older, however, academic studies often take precedence and, whilst a student may continue with a sport or music, it becomes more difficult to maintain both on a regular basis. The Duke of Edinburgh Award continues to demand commitment to both.
The real value of the Duke of Ed awards program lies in the community service and adventurous journey sections which challenge students both physically and mentally. Five Year 12 students were recognised at Senior School Assembly on Friday 14 October for completing either their Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards. All students completed challenging hiking journeys over the Ballarat Goldfields Track, in the Grampians or along the Great Ocean Walk. In addition, they all gave their time to their immediate or wider community in a variety of community service activities.
Isabella Cosentino completed the Bronze level award which involves a 3-6 month commitment across the 3 activities of service, physical and skill. Isabella completed a 4 day journey along the Great Ocean Walk from Aireys Inlet to the 12 Apostles in the April school holidays this year and she was a voluntary swimming teacher to young children at Just Swimming in Nunawading.
Whilst the Bronze Award is the first level of the Awards program, this is a significant achievement for Isabella as she only commenced the award in March this year in the midst of her Year 12 studies.
The Silver Award involves a 6-12 month commitment across the 3 areas and 6 days minimum of Adventurous Journey.
Madison Button volunteered at the Croydon Community Church Opportunity Shop (Bargain Browser) in East Ringwood, over a period of 6 months and she committed to a gym program to improve her fitness and soccer skills whilst continuing to play competitive soccer. Her Adventurous Journeys were a 4 day hike along the Ballarat Goldfields Track and a 5 day base camp at Halls Gap with extensive day hikes in the surrounding Grampians environment.
Heidi Ruckert was also part of the Goldfields Track Adventurous Journey last December and then completed her qualifying journey this April on the Great Ocean Walk. She committed herself to improving her tennis coaching and playing technique as well as developing her vocal skills through regular lessons, practice and participation in local and regional eisteddfods. Many of you would have heard Heidi’s beautiful voice at Celebration Evening in the Mozart Laudate Dominum item with the Senior Chamber Choirs. Heidi’s community service was her service to Tintern as part of this year’s Leadership Team.
The Gold Award involves a 12-18 month commitment across the 3 areas and a minimum of 8 days Adventurous Journey. In addition, to achieve one’s gold award, each participant must undertake a residential week in an unfamiliar environment staying with unfamiliar people whilst committing to an activity for 6 hours a day.
Grace Edwards was our 2016 Choral Captain and a dedicated member of both the Concert and Senior Girls Chamber Choirs. In addition, she was a long standing member of the Australian Girls Choir. For her physical activity, Grace chose general fitness activities and her service to community was as a youth group leader at her local church. For her residential project, Grace volunteered as a youth camp leader during school holidays and was in charge of mentoring and looking after a cabin of 4 younger girls. Grace joined Madison at the Grampians base camp Adventurous Journey last December and then completed her qualifying journey with Isabella and Heidi this April on the Great Ocean Walk.
Jack Church volunteered at the Coldstream Animal Aid Centre for 12 months; a cause he was passionate about, having adopted 2 dogs from the centre himself. Like Grace, Jack continued to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle during the demands of IB by undertaking general gym and fitness programs on a regular basis. Jack’s residential project was spent at the New Hope for Cambodian Children HIV Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, an experience that he will never forget and one that was both humbling and rewarding. Jack’s practice Adventurous Journey was the Ballarat Goldfields Hike and his qualifying journey was the 5 day base camp with strenuous and long day hikes around Halls gap with Heidi and Grace.
Currently there are 58 students in Years 9-12 enrolled in the Duke of Edinburgh program at all 3 levels of the award. The Duke of Ed journey for each of these students is a personal one and only the students themselves, like Isabella, Heidi, Madison, Grace and Jack, will know how much they have challenged themselves and just how much they have achieved throughout the course of their award. We congratulate these senior students on their wonderful achievements.