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Ferndale School students achieve Gold

Five students from Ferndale School gained their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award at a ceremony in Christchurch on 1 September.

This internationally recognised award is no easy feat, it requires participants to push to their limits physically and mentally.

Paul de Spa, Award Leader and teacher at Ferndale School, is extremely proud of the five students. "I know they'll look back on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as one of their highlights of their time at school," he said. "Each of them has had to push themselves hard to achieve things they probably didn't think they could manage, just as any Gold Award student does.  Their service activities, giving back to the communities that support them, have also been hugely important.  It's been a pleasure and a privilege to help these five wonderful young people to complete their Gold Awards."

The five students are Mason Griffin, Blake Hood, Keleigh Mackey-Harrison, Andrew Salisbury and Zephaniah Wade.

Keleigh’s highlight was her residential project, she loved the social aspect of working with a big group of people. Keleigh pushed herself hard on big walks and always had a huge smile once she had finished.

Award National Director Karen Ross says “we’re really proud of these students. It’s a privilege for the team at the Award to work alongside them”.

“They have shown commitment and determination to complete their Gold Award and have gained great life skills on their award journey that will help equip them for their futures” ends Ross.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award with more than 1.3 million young people taking part in 130+ countries around the world.  Leaders around the world are recognising the importance of non-formal education.

The Award create opportunities for our young people to learn a new skill, get physically active, give service to their community and take part in an adventurous journey.  They build confidence, problem solving skills and greater resilience, giving them more tools in their toolbox to thrive in our ever-changing world.


For more information, please contact:

Paul de Spa, Award Leader and Teacher, Ferndale School

email: [email protected]


Karen Ross, National Director , The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award                                           

email: [email protected]                                                       

027 645 6696                                                                                     



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