The inaugural year of the prestigious Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award in Wyke Sixth Form College was a busy one. Jay Trivedy and Sarah Thackray travelled to Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, at which the college was presented with a plaque identifying Wyke as a Duke of Edinburgh DLC holder, entitled to deliver all Duke of Edinburgh programmes to young people. Whilst at Buckingham Palace, Sarah and Jay met the famous Paralympian Hannah Cockcroft MBE, who also has a close association with gold, having won them in the wheelchair 100, 400 and 800 metres at the 2016 Rio Games, inspiring many young people to take up sport.
In 2015-16 , the first fourteen Gold students trained for their practice expedition and started the other 4 sections of the gold award – skills, physical, volunteering and residential. They completed three practice walks in the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors honing their skills. Also, two students took part in the thirty mile Spurn to Wyke walk to raise funds for equipment. All fourteen students practised their cooking skills when they used camping stoves for the first time, learnt map reading skills , first aid, hygiene skills, undertook emergency scenario training and learnt how to plan a nutritional menu (which they then promptly ignored when shopping for ingredients).
In July, these students completed their practice expedition in the Lake District. They endured gale force winds, three days of rain and some leaking kit to successfully complete their practice walk. The students might not quite have recognised the natural beauty of the Lakes during the trip due to the unfortunate three days of rain that they endured, but they began to work as a team. They tolerated each other; then made friendships. They learned how to endure the hardships of rain, cold and poor cooking. They survived – and now they are thriving because the group has returned to their second year. Learning from the ardours and trials of the practice expedition, they are already planning hard and making amendments for their assessed qualifying expedition in July 2017.
And the new? Well, the Duke of Edinburgh team this year is now three members strong, with David Pickering and Andy Dunne talking on leadership roles. The team has been vigorously recruiting students into the Gold award since Wyke Start in June, and currently has 32 participants signed up for the first year of the award, a large increase on 2015-16.
This year the teams mission is to continue to promote the award to students, parents and volunteers alike. The Duke of Edinburgh Award is much more than the expedition. Our students are actively involved in volunteering activities. Some are helping in charities; some are volunteering in cat shelters, some are developing new skills such as learning to drive or aiming to attain grade eight in Ballet. Some have returned to learning a musical instrument. They are promoting their physical well-being by being actively involved in a variety of sports; one is coaching a team of young children to play football. Those young children are learning. Our student is learning too.
In truth, those students who are taking part in Wyke’s Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award have all encompassed the true spirit of the scheme. Wyke Sixth Form College should be proud of these students and their achievements.
They are the pioneers of this new course. Long may their legacy continue!