Six St. Paul’s pupils, who were among the first in Latin America to complete the challenging Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award, were recently congratulated by HRH The Prince Edward at a private ceremony in Guarulhos.
The sixth form pupils at St. Paul’s were delighted to celebrate the completion of their Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award with HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and to share their experiences with him.
The Award is a challenging programme available to all young people aged 14 – 25. It is a balanced, non-competitive programme of voluntary activities, which encourages personal discovery and growth, self-reliance, perseverance, responsibility to themselves and service to their community. Award holders are recognised world-wide as people who have achieved something above and beyond the usual academic qualifications. There are three levels to the Award: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Only the most dedicated of young people achieve the highest level.
Each award winner gave a special presentation highlighting all that the programme had taught them. Lia Varela gave a moving musical performance, and Stephen Jancso spoke about the perseverance and determination he developed in competing in biathlon events. Thomas Meyer, meanwhile, spoke of his community work with Teto, and how he learnt the reality of Ghandi’s famous words: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Franco Baumgart- Melo spoke of his life-changing experience teaching English and Maths in Nepal, and André Nogueira of the challenges faced in his qualifying expedition. Diego Arantes, the sixth gold award winner, who was unable to be here as he is away in Mexico, representing Brazil in the World Triathlon Junior Championships, was represented by his mother, Mrs Juliana Arantes.
Prince Edward praised the pupils’ courage, saying: “I hope you can share this pride with others… you are the pioneers… and I hope you will leave this room a few inches taller, because many others did not complete this journey, and the difference is, you know you can.”