Clouds gathered and rain threatened, teetering on the edge of a downpour; but nothing could dampen the energy and excitement in the Ballroom of Government House on Wednesday 11th December 2013. After months of preparation and years of hard work, The Gold Award Ceremony of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was set to begin – and what a celebration it was.
“The Award has formed an integral part of my education…In addition to the five days a week spent in the classroom, we the Gold Awardees have collectively spent over 15,000 hours dedicated to a Skill, Physical Recreation and Volunteering. From these activities we have demonstrated dedication, commitment and compassion. It is such qualities that I know will take us far in our futures whatever paths we choose.”
Bareetu Aba-Bulgu, Gold Awardee Representative
Awards Victoria had the absolute pleasure of welcoming over 400 friends, family, Coordinators, school and organisation leaders and supporters to the beautiful surrounds of Government House to share in what is the pinnacle of achievement in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. We heard stories and shared experiences with 99 extraordinary young people who have pushed their limits, unleashed their capacity and discovered the powerful sense of ‘I can’.
“We are fortunate to be part of a society where there are vibrant youth willing to take the time to explore different avenues and see through projects.”
99 young people who have done things they wouldn’t have thought possible before The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
99 young people who have given of themselves all over the globe, and in their own backyards, by journeying to Tanzania, Kokoda, Vietnam, the Serengeti, Portland, Tasmania, Kakadu and the Great Ocean Road and more.
99 young people who have inspired us with their resilience, humour and courage in the face of challenge.
Amazing young people with compassion for others, who desire to be the best they can be and to help others to be their best selves as well.
For those of you that have now achieved your Gold, we say congratulations. You have achieved something extraordinary. You inspire us every day and we are so proud to be part of your journey to resilience, leadership and countless adventures.
“We must thank our friends and family for their support. But, most importantly our Award Coordinators who have spent countless hours mentoring and facilitiating our Award journey to this very day.”
Awards Victoria extends an enormous thank you (and congratulations!) to the parents, family members, mentors, Assessors, support teams and of course, Coordinators, who have been pillars of support and gentle encouragement to the Awardees on their journey. You are as much a part of the achievement as the Gold Awardees, and your support is invaluable.
The Gold Award Ceremony is the culmination of The Duke of Ed journey, but it’s by no means the end. Years of work, countless hours of giving, muscles that scream beneath heavy backpacks, legs that feel like led but still keep going, perceptions challenged in the face of the unknown, and hearts uplifted by the people and places and possibilities encountered along the way – you take all of these experiences with you as you move forward into your future. And what an incredibly bright future that is!
“…To the Gold Awardees, who have already completed a vigorous program – let us tackle all upcoming challenges with the same vivacity. Only this time, we’ll be wiser and stronger.”
Want to experience some of the amazing stories? Take a look at our Feature Gold Awardees for 2013:
- Sophie Weston | Year 12 student Sophie Weston of St Margaret’s School proved she will go the extra mile by riding her bike from Canberra to Melbourne all for a worthy cause
- Claire Daly | Having volunteered with Kidney Health Australia for over three years, 18 year old Claire Daly knows all about the power of giving! Read on to hear more about Claire’s community service and how the Duke of Ed helped her grow as a person
- Michael Livingston | A member of the Australian Army Cadets for a total of 6 1/2 years, Michael has been involved in various types of training including adventure and leadership training. He has achieved his Bronze Medallion in Life Saving, First Aid and Marksmanship qualifications
- Sarah Ryan | Sarah Ryan has been a member of Girls Brigade for over 15 years where she has taken part in many leadership activities in order to achieve her Gold Award. Sarah is now a leader herself and loves helping younger girls achieve their Awards too
- Melissa Liberatore | Achieving your own goals is a great feeling, but helping other people achieve theirs is incredibly rewarding. 19 year old Melissa Liberatore tells us how she taught a young boy how to swim and her travel experiences in Paris
- Dinesh Arulprakasam | “My biggest highlight was painting a mural in the prep room in Ecuador. We spent more than 10 hours straight working from morning till dark and had to use torchlight’s in order to finish it off. Though it was hard work, the effort put in by the whole team to finish the mural was a huge accomplishment; and it paid off when the kids came to school the next day and were very happy with what they saw.”
- Lara Bester | “Getting off the plane in Cambodia was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. It wasn’t the poverty that shocked me, rather it was the humidity and heat which I wasn’t prepared for.
As well as sharing in stories from our Feature Gold Awardees, and counting down to our biggest event of the year, we’re running a couple of social media competitions to celebrate:
Facebook 25 words or less competition
For your chance to win a $25 iTunes voucher, tell us in 25 words or less what your greatest accomplishment is! Entries close midnight Sunday 15th Dec. Winners will be announced the following Monday! Enter now.
Attention all 2013 Gold Awardees! We are running an Instagram competition for the Awardee that posts the best photo capturing the essence of the Gold Award Ceremony and what it means to you.
Prize: $25 iTunes voucher!
Upload your snaps to Instagram by midnight Sunday 15th Dec and use thehashtag #GAC2013. Enter now.