A celebration of our award winners  

Miss Hayden, Head of Physics and coordinator of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at St Augustine’s Priory, welcomed parents and students to an evening of celebration on the evening of Wednesday 9th March.  Our students have participated in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for many years and have achieved at all three levels:  Bronze, Silver and Gold.  Our pupils undertake community work, complete projects and trek through rain, wind and snow to achieve their goals.

The award winners and their families gathered in the Chapel for the presentation of the certificates to the award winners.  Miss Hayden welcomed all those present and introduced Linda Brown from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Ealing, as the guest speaker for the evening.

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Miss Brown emphasised the importance of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, how it builds character and develops essential skills for university and life beyond education.  Self-reliance and teamwork are hallmarks of the Award with girls working through many challenges to achieve their aims.

After this, Abbie Buchanan and Ayla Dumenci, Upper V, spoke about their experiences participating in the Bronze award and both girls told of how they had enjoyed being forced out of their comfort zones and that struggling through mutual hardships during their expeditions had helped them to forge stronger bonds and friendships with the other girls in their year group.

Following this our Gold candidates from the Sixth Form, Anna-Rose Poyntz, Billie Morrison, Alex Baker, Shivali Sharma and Katarina Krneta gave a presentation on the expedition they had undertaken in Wales for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The presentation was information and very entertaining, highlighting the importance of bringing enough food and dry socks, how wonderful it feels to reach the top of a mountain, how mechanical breakdowns are inevitable but you’ll pull through, and how completing the expedition was one of the hardest but most rewarding things they had done.

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Miss Hayden then showed a Powerpoint presentation of pictures from the Bronze, Silver and Gold expeditions which had taken place last year, with “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers playing in the background (the unofficial Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition anthem!).

Lastly, the certificates were presented by Mrs Raffray, Headteacher, and Miss Brown.  St Augustine’s Priory is committed to supporting the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award through all aspects of the programme, but the success of our candidates could not be achieved without the support and dedication of the parents.   Miss Hayden thanked all those who were involved with the Award at St Augustine’s Priory, the staff and parents and thanked the girls for pushing through the hard times and being endlessly cheerful and enthusiastic and making Miss Hayden’s time as Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Co-ordinator a joyful one.

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Mrs Raffray concluded the proceedings by saying that at a conference for Headteachers she had recently attended, the discussion had been about how education should build tenacity and determination, and that the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award allows the girls to do just that. She stated that the school was 100% committed to offering the Award at all levels to the students and thanked everyone for all their hard work and support of the girls taking part in the programme.

The evening had been a great success, celebrating all that is inspirational about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and all that it enables our girls to achieve.

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