Student achieves Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Posted on June 16, 2015

According to Mr Simon Przydacz, Head of Senior School at Arden “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is well known at Arden, and is recognised globally as a significant award scheme, engaging young people in community service, skill development, physical activity and expedition or exploration. The Award consists of three levels; Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Such is the rigour of the Award scheme and the exponential hours required to complete each section as a student progresses through the levels, that only a small percentage who commence Bronze, ever go on to complete Gold whilst still at School.  Significantly, Siobhan Kelly (Year 12, 2015) completed her Gold Award before she finished Year 11 last year.  She will be formally awarded and presented by the NSW Governor later this year.”

An interview with Siobhan Kelly

I know that all Year 9 Arden students undertake the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.  What made you decide to commit to working towards the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and to complete it by the end of Year 11?

I wanted to complete my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award because I wanted to be able to work on something for a few years.  I set myself a goal to complete it before the beginning of Year 12 so that I could leave Year 12 clear to focus on my HSC.

What were some of the highlights in working towards this award?

A highlight would be my residential project for my Gold. For that I went on Arden’s Vietnam/Cambodia Tour in 2014.  It was an eye opening experience and something that has challenged the way I view my life and the world.

What were some of the challenges?

A challenge would be on my Gold when one night tents flew away and we ended up having six people in a two person tent.  It was very scary because we had to hold the tent down the whole night and almost got evacuated.

How did Arden help you in this journey?

I didn’t know about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award before doing the Year 9 Camp.  Once I found out what it was, it really interested me and I wanted to complete it.  Mrs Bush (Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Coordinator at Arden) and Miss Hepworth were very encouraging and made it a fulfilling challenge to complete.

What have you learnt from completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and in a particular, the Gold Award?  What have been some key benefits?

Teamwork is essential.  It’s very frustrating at the beginning of all the expeditions because we haven’t established teamwork yet.  Once we establish it, the whole experience becomes amazing and everyone works together.  Sometimes it is hard to solve problems that occur along the way, but when everyone helps out it’s really easy to get things done.

Would you recommend other students aim for the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award?  Why?

Yes! The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is intently rewarded and my best high school memories have come from it.  I have made loads of friends and learnt some great skills.  I’ve also had some great experiences such as seeing Princess Kate and Prince William and exploring Cockatoo Island at night.

The parental perspective – Bruce and Denise Kelly
“The Duke of Edinburgh’s (DOE) Awards challenges young adults to search within themselves, to consider alternatives and to make sound, well-reasoned personal and group decisions. The program has helped Siobhan in many ways.  In a nutshell – she is a very well-rounded young woman, with a healthy respect for herself and others less fortunate.  She has learned the value of team work, of pushing yourself, of never saying “I can’t do that”, of not being a “Princess”, about roughing it, appreciating the different skills and values of others when forming a team to achieve an outcome and of the spirit of camaraderie within the group.”