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Recording breaking Gold Awards

Regulus Address // Issue 1 // May 2022

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Careful planning, commitment, teamwork, and supporting each other, saw St Andrew’s College students do incredibly well to gain the most Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Awards of any organisation or school in New Zealand in 2021.

The exceptional total of 22 Gold Awards was also well ahead of the previous record of 13 achieved in one year by St Andrew’s College students. Two additional students who were in Year 13 in 2021, went on to complete their Gold Award early this year.

The initial group of 22 students were presented with their Gold Awards at the Prizegiving ceremony in December, with a formal presentation to be made to the whole group by Governor General, Her Excellency The Rt Hon. Dame Cindy Kiro, later in the year. “Receiving the Gold Award at Prizegiving is a real motivator for some students, as it may be their first, and/or last time on the stage. This is an award for hard working all-rounders, as well as our highest achievers,” says Head of Value and Culture, Hamish Bell, who oversees the programme.

Hamish says planning was a big part of the group’s success. “Back at the start of Year 12, we worked with the students to figure out how they could fit all the requirements for the award into their last two years of schooling.

The students later split into small groups to support and encourage each other through different aspects of the programme.”The students later split into small groups to support and encourage each other through different aspects of the programme.”

The COVID-19 disruptions, including  the two lockdowns, made the results even more remarkable, with the students having to adapt to different ways of doing things to complete their two adventurous journeys and the five-day residential project, all while working individually to achieve the one hour per week, 12-month commitment of physical recreation, completing a skill or hobby, and community service.

Each year, Hamish looks forward to seeing what the students decide to tackle for their final adventurous journey, which they are encouraged to make as memorable and special as possible. “One group did the St James Walkway, which is normally competed in four days/five nights, however they were determined to complete it within the minimum award criteria of three days/four nights. It became quite an endurance feat, with the students doing some big miles and getting lots of blisters along the way. A group of girls went sea kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park, which was another wonderful bonding experience.”

Having a positive impact on the community through one hour of community service each week, is​ another valuable aspect of the programme, he says.

Success of this magnitude does not happen without careful planning and ongoing support from many staff, coaches, mentors, parents, and whānau. “There can be up to 50 staff involved in the programme in various capacities. Everyone is really behind it,” says Hamish.

It is compulsory for students in Year 10 to complete the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award. In 2022, around 70–80 students from Years 11–13 have signed up for the Silver Award, with a smaller group committing to the Gold Award. “We are proud of all the students who achieve their Silver and Gold Awards. Their hard work sets them apart from others with an award that is recognised internationally in 140 countries.”

2021 Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award recipients

Hamish Bain, Jacob Bhatia, Sophia Clark, Alice Egan, Emma Elston, Benjamin Ferrier, Samuel Foote, Isabella Galvan, Sophie Goode, Eva Hitchon, Jaime Howell, Felix Kenton-Smith, Lucas Kerry, Alyssa Le, Isabella Logie, Ariana Mellish-Temple, Lachlan Muir, Oliver Odlin, Arden Ongley, Emma Prince, Rupert Shepherd, Molly Spark.

2022 Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award recipients

Graeme Campbell, Tatiana Keogan (both OC 2021).

Collectively our students earned 22 Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Awards in 2021, the most out of any organisation or school in the country.

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