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Photo by Bernadette Shaw

Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

Ms A Middelkoop —

At the time of writing, 8 students have been awarded their Award at Bronze Level this year, with another 8 with only a few more hours to complete.

 The students at this level have shown great commitment to all of the sections, challenging themselves to take on new activities and striving to excel in activities they already enjoy.

Seven students have been awarded their Silver Award certificate and badge with most of these students going onto start their Gold Award.

The Gold Award is a prestigious International Award that recognises the culmination of the efforts of students towards balancing their academic studies with Service, Skills and Physical activity and the challenge that comes with their Adventurous Journeys. It truly demonstrates that a student is a well-rounded individual.

We have a few students who have almost completed their Gold Awards this year but only one who has completed all the hours required, and received her invitation to a Gold Award ceremony next year where she will receive her Certificate from the Governor General. So, we give particular congratulations to Melissa Coker for this wonderful achievement.

Here is a synopsis of Melissa’s journey through the Award.

Melissa started her Bronze Award as soon as she turned 14 at and throughout the rest of her time at Burnside she has worked her way through all three levels in all four sections.

For the skill section Melissa has delved into very different activities over the four years from Geocaching to Cookery and for her Gold Award – learning to drive.

For the Physical Recreation section Melissa started off with Lawn Bowls but then her love of netball and then tennis came through and has continued throughout the four years.

For the Service section Melissa has always worked with young people. Firstly helping out with a Kea group and in later years coaching both netball and tennis players. Her assessor reports always note her cheerfulness and enthusiasm that act as a wonderful role model for the youngsters she has worked with.

For the Adventurous Journey section Melissa covered at least 250 km of tramping tracks, camping under the stars and on one occasion under a tarpaulin in the snow.

For Gold Level Melissa also did a residential project with the Venture Scouts which included learning the new skills of horse riding and horse care, archery, shooting and sailing. She said she found this “an awesome adventure in which I developed many new lifelong friendships with teenagers from across NZ and Australia”