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Students Celebrate Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

  • DofE Awards Evening
  • DofE Awards Evening Janette McCormick
  • DofE Awards Evening certificates handed out
  • DofE Awards Evening Hannah and Kiera
  • DofE Awards Evening Andrew
  • DofE Awards Evening Boys' Division pupil
  • DofE Awards Evening presentation

A special awards evening was held at Bolton School as students from the Girls’ and Boys’ Divisions celebrated picking up their gold, silver and bronze certificates.  All Senior School pupils at Bolton School complete the Bronze Award and many then go on to achieve their Silver and Gold Awards. Headmaster of the Boys’ Division, Mr Philip Britton, opened the evening, saying how there is much synergy between the D of E award and all that we do at school, including producing rounded characters, learning about ourselves outdoors, developing skills and engaging with the community.

Pupils from across the Divisions provided their own perspectives on achieving the award. Hanna, who picked up a gold certificate, had run the Wigan 10k race, gone on an expedition for four days trekking in the Lake District where she learnt teamwork and communication skills, had assisted young children at Beech House Infant School and had taken a job mucking out at stables. David, who was picking up his Silver Award, spoke about being part of a pioneering group from the school who undertook the first Silver cycle ride where teamwork was essential to success. Kiera, who has already received her Bronze and Silver awards and is now working towards her Gold, spoke of how she learnt to play golf, taught in a dance school and had helped out with Disability Snowsport UK, where she had picked up invaluable life lessons which could be used on her CV and talked about in future education and job interviews. This summer she will complete her Gold after a sailing adventure on a catamaran out of Portsmouth. Andrew reflected on how his group’s trek through the Lake District had increased their fitness, resilience and endurance levels. The group were determined to finish as a team or not at all. He also spoke of his own personal journey as he learnt to kayak.  Hannah Shaw, another Gold recipient, talked about her group’s expedition on Tenacity of Bolton, the boat built by Bolton School pupils, sailing in the seas around the west coast of Scotland and reflecting how the team spirit grew as the days unfolded.

Special guest for the evening was former pupil Janette McCormick, now Deputy Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary, whose own daughters have recently undertaken the D of E Award as they passed through the school. Reflecting on her own time at Bolton School, she said it was here that she learnt to challenge things when you think they are wrong. She told the award recipients that they should be incredibly proud of themselves, not only have they done much good for the local community but they have also improved their own lifeskills including leadership, communication and team-working skills. She recalled the camaraderie of her daughter’s D of E group when one girl was struggling on Rivington Pike so the other girls shared out her load among themselves to make it easier for her; this favour was returned when her own daughter was struggling on Machu Picchu and the other girls split her backpack, enabling her to continue.  Ms McCormick explained how there were three generations of volunteers in her own family: her 80 year old mother worked in a food bank, her husband ran several netball clubs and her daughter still helps out in a charity shop because she enjoyed it so much. She said: “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy as, through your work, you vote everyday what kind of community you want to live in.”  She told the girls and boys that they form a community of 140 million volunteers across the globe – and that if this was a country, it would be the 9th largest in the world!

Headmistress Sue Hincks brought the evening to a close, offering her own huge congratulations and encouraging all pupils to go for the Gold Award as it is the epitome of what you can do as a young person. Again, comparisons were made between the D of E and the Bolton School education, both of which encourage young people to push themselves that bit further, to learn a skill and to help out others. She also put on record her thanks to all the staff who oversee the awards and guide pupils to successful completion.

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