Pupils from St Benedict’s School, Ealing have achieved a record number of Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards this year. On 1st May 2019, 192 awards were handed out in a ceremony attended by the Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Tejinder Singh Dhami.
The scheme is open to pupils from Year 9 onwards and encourages students to participate in increasingly challenging expeditions to achieve either a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. Each award takes pupils out of their comfort zone, teaching them map reading skills as they trek with heavy backpacks and camp out over several nights. The Gold Award expedition takes place on the mountains of Snowdonia, Wales. Aside from outward bound pursuits, pupils are also encouraged to engage in extra-curricular activities such as music and sport, and volunteer in their local communities.
At the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Presentation Evening, St Benedict's Headmaster, Andrew Johnson, said: “I am delighted that more and more of our pupils are undertaking and completing Duke of Edinburgh’s awards, which provide excellent opportunities for developing independence, self-reliance, resilience and team-work, as well as encouraging pupils to develop their talents and be of service to others.”
Two Gold Award holders - Phoebe Daly-Jones and Cerys Edwards (Year 13) - told the audience about their D of E Gold experience. Each said that the residential and voluntary work element of the award had made them more confident when meeting and working with new people. Valentina Elner-Kupcha (Year 12) talked about her Silver award expedition, describing trials and tribulations such as walking through a field of bulls!
Musical entertainment was provided by pupils who had developed their musical talent as part of the awards’ skills component. Alex Dupuy (Year 13) played a piano improvisation inspired by Debussy and there was a jazz performance from Gregor Brindle, Joshua Macdonald and Jem Mawer (all in year 10). Whilst presenting the pupil’s certificates, the Mayor of Ealing congratulated everyone for their success and praised the scheme for its wide-ranging challenges. Later this year, the Gold award holders will go to Buckingham Palace to formally receive their awards from HRH Prince Edward.