As part of our innovative It’s Up↑2 Me program, Year 9 can achieve the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. Known as the ‘Duke of Ed’, the program sees students setting and working towards personalised goals in the key themes of Skills, Physical Recreation, Service and Adventurous Journey.
Former student and 2012 Valedictorian Liam Thomas has returned to the college in a mentoring role, coordinating the Duke of Ed in its inaugural year at Elwood.
Liam says the Award teaches key skills like organisation, self-motivation and communication – all of which are essential for the VCE and life beyond school.
“It’s about how to set personal goals and works towards achieving them,” he explains. “To achieve the goals, students really need to step out of their comfort zone, push past barriers and be confident.”
Working with Liam, each student designs their own unique program based on four key themes: Skill, Physical Recreation, Service and Adventurous Journey.
For the Skill section of the Award, students need to explore their talents and learn a new skill. This year Elwood students are turning their minds to everything from web coding to cooking to music programming.
The Physical Recreation section encourages participants to improve their fitness and wellbeing. Whether it’s working on football skills, improving running endurance or learning yoga, participation and determination are key factors to meeting the award requirements.
The Service section requires students to connect with their community and give service to others through a recognised organisation.
Finally, and perhaps the favourite for many students, is the Adventurous Journey component. In teams of four, students design their own journey, with certain goals they need to achieve, and then organise their own transport, accommodation and food.
In each category, assessment is not just about whether students achieved that goal but how they worked towards achieving it
Liam says the Duke of Ed is great for building self-belief in young adults.
“I find they are very keen on building new skills and improving themselves. They do things and think ‘wow, I didn’t know I had that in me.’ They seem to really value that.”