18 pupils from Berkhamsted School were congratulated by Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex at St James’s Palace on the completion of their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

The group who graduated from Berkhamsted Sixth Form in August 2017 had the honour of collecting their Gold Award from comedian and presenter Adam Hills.

During the presentation HRH congratulated the group and recognised their hard work and determination over the 18 month process.

Duke of Edinburgh gold Coniston expedition

Joe Markby, one of the 18 pupils said “St. James’s Palace was a great experience. It felt special as it’s not a place open to the general public. The talk from Adam Hills was not only hilarious but a great piece on how important it is to stay positive with some brilliant stories relating to his own disability and from the Paralympics. We also got to speak to the Earl of Wessex briefly in groups of 20 and he seemed very interested in what we had done and how we found the award.

“For our expedition my group chose to do kayaking. For our practice we sea kayaked the coast of Croatia from a small town called Skradin camping on various islands down the coast, the scenery was absolutely stunning and it was a fantastic expedition. For our final we kayaked down the river Wye which was again a fantastic expedition with brilliant weather.”

Skills for the future

Joe is now undertaking a gap year commission in the army before staring at the University of Sheffield to study material science and engineering next September. Joe recognises The Duke of Edinburgh Award as an opportunity to develop many skills for the future.

“My volunteering for Gold Award involved mentoring a group through their bronze award and my physical was rock climbing. Mentoring the group I found to be particularly useful as it gave me the experience of planning and delivering lessons, controlling a class and managing people through a process. My residential was a cadet leadership course in Kent which was a fantastic course, run by the army cadet force, and taught me lots about leadership.

Duke of Edinburgh gold Croatia expedition

Beyond the classroom

Rachael Hardy, Berkhamsted School’s Duke of Edinburgh Awards Manager said “Outdoor Education is a major part of life at Berkhamsted. The opportunities to engage in learning opportunities beyond the classroom starts with our youngest pupils in Pre-Prep and continues throughout the school.

“Our students should be tremendously proud of the DofE achievements. Not only have they developed a wide range of skills which will benefit them in the future, the group have made a great contribution to charities and organisations within the local community as part of the award.”

Overall in the 2016/2017 academic year pupils from Berkhamsted School completed 149 Bronze and 48 Gold Awards.