Prince Edward Presents Duke of Edinburgh Awards

2019 09 13 gold dofe presentation 02
"When you walk out of the Town Hall, walk a few inches taller and be proud of your personal achievement and the impact you have made on your community.”

So said His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO, when he made a once-in-a-lifetime Duke of Edinburgh presentation to five Pacific Hills at the Sydney Town Hall.

He added, “As you know, there are lots of young people out there who say, ‘Oh the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, I could do that!’ The difference is, you know you can.”

Our students were part of a contingent of 400 other awardees in what was the largest Gold Award presentation for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards ever held outside the United Kingdom.

The Gold awardees were Benjamin Luker, Timothy Ok, Caden Wickham-Hill, Nicholas White and Lukas Kiehl.

The ceremony was attended by The Honourable Gladys Berejiklian, MP, Premier of NSW, who stated, “You are the leaders of tomorrow and your service makes our whole community stronger.”

The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore and The Honourable Gary Nairn AO, Chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in Australia, also voiced their thanks for the awardees’ contribution for the betterment of the society.

To accommodate such huge numbers of awardees a number of special logical arrangements had to be made. A group of sixteen eminent ‘Special Presenters’ were selected to hand out the award certificates after Prince Edward had met with and congratulated the awardees.

Reporter, journalist and film maker, Jeff McMullen, whose credits include ‘Four Corners’, ‘60 Minutes’, and ‘Difference of Opinion’ presented certificates to our students. He spent considerable time chatting to them about their experiences. Other presenters included world champion surfer Layne Beachley, actor Jack Thompson, Australia’s greatest Olympic swimmer Dawn Fraser, the wonderful mathematics teacher at Cherrybrook Technology High School, Eddie Woo, the INXS band member Kirk Pengilly, and the author, journalist and television and radio presenter, Indira Naidoo.. It was a collection of the ‘Who’s Who’ of Australian cultural, educational and sporting life. Mrs O’Neil and Mr Lees, the coordinators of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award at Pacific Hills, were privileged to attend the ceremony.

As part of achieving the Gold Award, Benjamin tramped the mountainous Routeburn and Milford Tracks of New Zealand. Caden, Nicholas and Lukas walked the Routeburn and Kepler tracks, Timothy paddled a canoe along the pristine Myall Lakes.

These fine young men have completed a full year of physical activities, learned skills, community service, a residential project and two four day-three night adventurous journeys.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a prestigious and well-regarded award requiring commitment, resilience and integrity. It is a true test of a person’s character.

Currently, thirty students from Pacific Hills are completing their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards. Fourteen students undertook an eight-day canoeing trip on Myall Lakes and sixteen students will travel to New Zealand in December to walk the magnificent Routeburn and Milford Tracks.

To these five young men we salute you and your achievement.

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