Silver Award Ceremony -             Palmerston North

On Thursday evening (12th May) we were thrilled to travel up to Palmerston North to attend a Silver Award ceremony. 2 students from Freyberg High School, 11 from Palmerston North Girls' High School and 26 students from St. Peter's College received their Silver Award. It was wonderful to meet the Silver Awardees and to hear more about their experience of doing the Award including what they gained from it and any obstacles that they overcame.

Kevin Plant, the CE of the Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award gave the following speech:

Never underestimate the value of a good story. They start conversations, allow you to express yourself and help you give examples in a meaningful context. They connect people, engaging your listener with personal details and making them want to hear more. The path you take in achieving your Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award is paved with stories. Today, these stories may simply bring you some laughs with your friends or a look of pride to your family’s faces, but one day you will find yourself in a job interview, or writing a hall of residence application, or faced with a difficult decision. That is when the true value of those stories will shine though. The stories of how you got through a tough soccer season where half your team managed to injure themselves; the stories of hours of practice before that first big piano performance; the stories of how you helped a member of your Adventurous Journey team who thought they weren’t strong enough to climb that hill; and the stories of the look of joy on the puppies faces at the SPCA when you arrived each week to take care of them. These are the stories that will set you apart. They show the physical, mental and emotional skills you have developed, as well as your ability to commit and see things through to the end.

Good evening everyone and welcome to the Palmerston North Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award presentation. We are here tonight to celebrate the successes of the 39 young people in this room who have completed the Silver level of the Award. To get to this point they will have had to demonstrate many key life skills and got through many challenges that will not only help them in life, but also help them decide what kind of adults they want to become. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award’s four sections have effects far more wide reaching than the obvious.

Your Physical Recreation doesn’t just get you moving for an hour a week; it also requires you to show improvement over the course of your Award. You need to continually reflect, to identify your weaknesses, work on them, and make yourself better.

Your Skill doesn’t just teach you to play the flute, or to drive a car. It also teaches you patience. It teaches you that it is OK to fail as long as you keep trying and that if you keep trying, you will eventually succeed.

Your Service doesn’t just teach you how to work for free. It also teaches you how interconnected the world is and that you can make a difference, even with just one hour a week.

Your Adventurous Journey doesn’t just teach you that there are a lot of very steep hills in Aotearoa. It also teaches you that no matter how big the challenge is, you can get through anything as long as you take it one step at a time.

You have all learned these lessons. You are the tall poppies and the future leaders and we are so pleased for you. You are becoming active members of your community and have shown perseverance through all of the other pressures that you, the youth of today, have - NCEA, school commitments, family commitments and, hopefully at least, some semblance of a social life. These have been juggled and arranged throughout these last 6 months to allow you to complete the requirements of the Award, which is no mean feat! You have boldly started on the journey that is your future and, from where I am standing, the future looks bright.

Keep striving to be the best version of yourself. Keep learning, keep believing in yourselves and keep making more amazing stories. To all of the incredible people who have supported them in their Award journey so far, I thank you. Award Leaders, teachers, parents, guardians and friends - your advice, cajoling and encouraging are instrumental in our awardees success. I am sure they will all thank you personally later, but on behalf of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award team, you have our heartfelt thanks.

An especially big thank you must also be extended to Janice Gordon, who is not only an Award Leader at the Massey Group, but who also organised this fine event. Thank you for all of your hard work. Finally, I’d like to extend my warmest thanks to his worship, the mayor of Palmerston North Mr Grant Smith, our local patron of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

Congratulations to the 39 Silver Awardees from all of us here at The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award.

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