St Benedict’s has been celebrating a remarkable crop of Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Awards. The Ealing school claims that, in the last year, pupils from Year 9 through to the sixth form collected a record 192 Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.
An award presentation evening was held at the school to mark the achievement, where the Mayor of Ealing, Tejinder Singh Dhami, presented award certificates and praised the scheme for its wide-ranging challenges.
For those pupils going for gold, that included map-reading their way around Snowdonia, trekking with heavy backpacks and camping out over several nights. They were also required to develop skills and personal interests, such as music and sport, and undertake voluntary work.
“I am delighted that more and more of our pupils are undertaking and completing Duke of Edinburgh’s awards,” said school head, Andrew Johnson, at the DofE presentation evening. “[They] provide excellent opportunities for developing independence, self-reliance, resilience and teamwork, 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 – told the audience that the residential, voluntary work element of the award had made them more confident when meeting and working with new people. Valentina Elner-Kupcha 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 played a piano improvisation inspired by Debussy, and there was a jazz performance from Gregor Brindle, Joshua Macdonald and Jem Mawer.
Later this year, the Gold award holders will go to Buckingham Palace to formally receive their awards from Prince Edward.