Going for Gold

Written by | News

300106.jpgThirty former pupils of The Wallace High School were recently presented with Duke of Edinburgh Gold awards at a ceremony n Buckingham Palace. The group, accompanied by teachers Bill Wilson and Lois Stewart, were aged between 18 and 26 and included two sets of siblings – Jack and Harriet Kinkead and Victoria and Lyndsey Ward.

Wallace High Unit leader Lois Stewart explained, “We were delighted to see so many of our former pupils being presented with their Gold awards. The Wallace High School Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme Unit is thriving – we were the largest group represented at the Palace presentation. The Award scheme includes skills, expeditions and service sections. Currently at Wallace we have 120 young people participating at Silver and Gold level. Each of these pupils is giving up at least one hour per week in service to the local community. This may involve such activities as acting as leaders with organisations such as the Scouts or Guides, helping out at Sunday schools or at animal rescue centres. Two of our former pupils also act as volunteers for charitable helplines which provide advice for young people. It’s great to see that so many of the participants in the Award scheme choose to continue with their voluntary work even when they have achieved their Award.

The Skills section of the Award Scheme encourages young people to develop a hobby or sport, with many wide ranging choices being made by Wallace students from Drama to Ice Hockey. On the expedition front, all our pupils undergo stringent classroom based instruction for six months before embarking on their mountain based training and assessment. Silver assessments are carried out in the Mournes whilst Gold expeditions take place in the Wicklow mountains. This year, to coincide with the fiftieth year of The Award Scheme we are delighted to be taking a group of Upper Sixth pupils to the Pyrenees for two weeks to complete their Gold expedition. This is our fourth such trip and I’m pleased to say that our training programme is going very well.”

Twelve Upper Sixth pupils from the Clonevin Park school were recently presented with their Silver Awards by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Martin Morgan, at Belfast City Hall. Lois Stewart went on, “It’s always a pleasure to see former pupils continue to support the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme when they leave school. Many are now acting as leaders with local churches and youth groups and indeed one of our former pupils, Neil Armstrong is now a leader back in Wallace having recently been appointed as a teacher of History and Politics. Our warmest congratulations go to all those who have recently received their awards.”

Principal of Wallace, Mrs Anne McBride, concluded, “These are wonderful achievements for all concerned. We are indebted to the dedication and hard work of all the staff involved in promoting the scheme here in school, particularly to Bill Wilson and Lois Stewart, and are delighted at the recent success of our pupils both past and present.”

Last modified: October 16, 2007