Bolingbroke students ‘Going for Gold’ at St James’ Palace

Eleven former students from Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy, accompanied by their chosen guest, recently attended the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award ceremony in St James’ Palace where they proudly received their Gold certificates and badges.

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OBA’s Assistant Head of Sixth Form, Mr Scott Fenner, was invited to attend the event as a special regional guest and Head of Year, Miss Zaina Porschke, attended as a Marshall. This allowed both teachers who co-ordinate the DofE Award in OBA to share in the students’ success.

The group travelled together to London by train and had a couple of spare hours before the ceremony began to enjoy taking some photographs of London’s main sights and the spectacular grounds and gardens of St James’ Palace.

The ceremony was hosted by Kevin Rogers Operations, Manager for DofE North. The special guest presenters were Paralympian Gold medal winners Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott who achieved their dream in the 2016 Rio Olympics and have both recently received MBE’s in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List. The highly prestigious event was also attended by His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

The ceremony started with an introduction and a congratulatory speech from Kevin Rogers to all of those who had achieved the Gold Award.  This was followed by a truly inspirational speech from Gold medal winners, Sophie and Helen, who shared their Paralympic journey with all those present. They were keen to impress upon the students present how important it is to keep persevering with your goals, even when faced with adversity and they encouraged them all to celebrate their tremendous achievements.

After a royal handshake, HRH, The Earl of Wessex spoke to both Miss Porschke and Mr Fenner regarding Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy’s DofE programme and how successful it was. HRH then proceeded to speak to the students regarding their DofE experience and the benefits they had drawn from it. He was particularly interested to hear some of the opportunities that OBA’s students had experienced and the challenges they had taken on along the way. Daniel Ayres shared the fact that he had completed his residential during the academy’s trip to Kenya.  Alice Graham talked about how she had worked with Camp Project Wales.  Holly Godden gave details of the different foreign languages she had learnt, whilst Johnny Shaw and Sam Kendrick entertained HRH by relating some of their best memories of their expedition an Academy sailing trip.

The special guest presenters Sophie and Helen presented the students with the Gold Award certificates and then all the awardees had the official group photograph taken before the ceremony was drawn to a close.

Assistant Head of Sixth Form, Scott Fenner said:

"On behalf of OBA, I would like to congratulate the Gold cohort which consisted of Daniel Ayres, Danielle Stoba, Sarah Penketh, Alice Graham, Johnny Shaw, Sam Kendrick, Zoe Thornhill, Joshua Hewitt, Holly Godden, Katie Filkins, Hayley Bray, Lewis Roberts and Jack Shields Roberts.  They were a truly dedicated and amazing bunch of young adults to work with."

PE teacher, Miss Porschke added:

"They worked so hard to achieve their Gold Award and we are all extremely proud of them and everything they achieved along the way.  It was an amazing day and I am sure they will never forget it.  All of the students and their guests thoroughly enjoyed the day and felt very proud of their achievements.  Well done to each and every one of them!"