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    Going the Extra Mile

    Sixth Formers complete tough trek to achieve their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

    The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is all about going the extra mile and a trio of Sixth Formers have done just that - walking 300 miles between them to achieve their Gold Awards. Talya Atkins, Olivia Gerard-Pearce and Henrietta Woods were part of an 18-strong group who completed a four-day trek starting in the Cheviot Hills, crossing into Scotland, and finishing at the highest point of Hadrian's Wall.

    The exacting expedition was the final challenge in the youth awards programme, which has three levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold) and requires participants to complete several sections: Volunteering, Physical, Skills, Expedition and Residential (Gold only). In addition to their walk, the girls spent more than 200 hours volunteering in the community, 156 hours learning a skill, 156 hours on physical fitness, and 54 nights away either on expedition or residential adventures.

    Talya said: “I improved my running speed and distance, learned how to cook in order to prepare myself for university, and helped train the younger DofE Bronze and Silver participants – a volunteer role I still enjoy. DofE has given me a lot of valuable skills and experiences I can take into my future. In the expeditions I learnt how far my abilities can stretch and how deep I can dig when I need to. Some parts were difficult but as a group we all supported each other and sang a lot to keep morale high! The volunteering sections of all three levels gave me opportunities to work and meet with so many people, for which I’m very grateful.”

    Henrietta added: “My volunteering was undertaken at my local village church where I assisted in brass cleaning, flower arranging, cleaning and gardening. For the skills section, I played my clarinet in the school orchestra and participated in concerts both in and out of school. Hockey and netball were my physical activities. Overall, I now have the resilience to keep going through demanding and exhausting tasks, I gained independence, and the knowledge that you can achieve beyond your expectations.”

    The Duke of Edinburgh Awards were launched in the UK in 1956 and there are currently approximately 420,000 young people enrolled in the scheme. While Talya, Henrietta and Olivia are celebrating the completion of their Gold Awards, many of our current 3rd Form are just beginning their Bronze DofE journey. For more about the Duke of Edinburgh Award at Kimbolton School, click here.