Victoria’s next generation of leaders’ achievements were celebrated in style at the inaugural Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award Gala on Saturday night.

Duke of Ed Victoria had the absolute pleasure of welcoming over 400 friends, family, Award Leaders, Board members, Sponsors and Supporters to the spectacular heritage building that is Melbourne Town Hall to share in what is the pinnacle of achievement in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Years of preparation, commitment and perseverance finally paid off for each of the 79 young Victorians who were presented with their Gold Award and recognised for their outstanding achievements.

United Nations Youth Representative, Benson Saulo presented our Awardees with their certificates.

The Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is the hardest of the three levels to attain where young people embark on a journey rich in diversity, full of challenge and jam-packed with adventure. The Gold Award Gala was the culmination of this journey and we are so very proud of this year’s Gold Awardees for unleashing their capacity and achieving something truly extraordinary.

Each of the 79 passionate and driven Awardees have dedicated their free time to volunteering and giving back to communities all across the globe and in their own backyards. From journeying to Cambodia, Fiji, Ecuador and France to Kakadu, Tasmania and the Murray River, with their compassion and endurance our Awardees have challenged themselves to be the best they can be, as well as helping others to be their best selves as well.

The 79 individuals presented on Saturday night have inspired us with their resilience, humour and courage in the face of challenge, we couldn’t be more proud!

As Gold Awardees we have faced our fears, challenged ourselves physically, mentally and socially and experienced great things we would not have done without this opportunity.

At times we were out of our comfort zones in the activities we were involved, and it is because of this we have developed our character, our skill sets, empathy for others and established lasting friendships along the way.

– Georgia Weymouth Large, from Santa Maria College spoke at the Gala on behalf of all 2014 Gold Awardees.

L-R: Chelsea Aminde, Georgia Weymouth Large, Chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Victoria Mr Andrew Douglas, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Victoria Anoushka Gungadin, Performer Jason Heerah, Josephine Montalto and Emily Henderson.
In addition to celebrating our Gold Awardees, we also revealed the deserving winners of the inaugural DoEIA Excellence and Innovation Awards. Congratulations to the following:

We thank you all for your tireless dedication, positive influence and your integral role in playing the pillars of support to our Awardees. From lending an ear for feedback and advice, an eye for checking over the pages of countless Record Books to lending a shoulder for when those Adventurous Journey backpacks get too heavy, it is your commitment and dedication to youth development that makes the Duke of Ed so successful.

We would also like to congratulate and thank all Excellence and Innovation Award Finalists, nominees and judges, as well as extending our thanks to all parents, family members, mentors, Assessors and support teams – the Award programs and the ongoing positive impact they have on our young people would not be possible without you.

After the presentations, we had an exciting raffle draw and Auctioneer Andrew Facey ran a live auction where guests had the opportunity to win some amazing prizes and further support our cause.

It was then time to put on our dancing shoes as X-Factor Finalist, Jason Heerah took the stage and entertained us with his impressive vocals and drumming talent. It’s pretty needless to say the dance floor was pumping!

Our preliminary result is that approximately $10,000 has been raised to go towards our goal of reaching 1 million young Victorians from diverse backgrounds including Indigenous youth, remote and rural communities, and other young people who are unable to afford access due to social and economic disadvantage.

A sincere thank you to the Sponsors and Supporters who made our Gala possible. Your active involvement demonstrates your commitment to fostering the development of young Australians. Nothing great can be achieved alone and, with your support, we know we can rise to the aspiration of our young people and take Australia into the future with confidence.

Please stay tuned for more Gala pics, news and media articles as we are releasing a Special Gold Award Edition of our newsletter, Award Edge. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so by clicking here!

Also stay tuned for the winner of our ‘Go for Gold’ Instagram Photo Comp to be announced soon on our Duke of Ed Victoria Facebook page!

And lastly, professional photography taken on the night will be available to view online by tomorrow (Tuesday!) morning. You can view and purchase these photos through GHPImages website: www.ghpimages.com.au/goldawardgala

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