Former Highfields students rubbed shoulders with royalty when they celebrated achieving the highest possible honour on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme at Buckingham Palace.
Rachel Clarke and Libby Mckenna-Fraser, who has been working at Highfields as an apprentice this year, attended the palace to be presented with their DofE Gold Awards in the presence of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
The guest speaker on the day was former Blue Peter presenter, Konnie Huq.
Former students Alice Barrie, Owen Stavenuiter and Kent Stavenuiter picked up their Gold Awards at an earlier palace ceremony, whilst Jemma Payne and Shifani Passap will be officially presented with their awards at a ceremony later this year.
The seven DofE Gold Award students volunteered their time in the community over 12 months, as well as completing a gruelling four-day practice and assessed expedition in Snowdonia and the Lake District. They also completed a four-day residential shared experience with other young people.
Ahead of their palace dates, their achievements on the DofE programme were honoured with a presentation evening in school hosted by former Highfields teacher, Sir Michael Griffiths, who was awarded a knighthood for his services to education.
Mr C Moody, Highfields’ DofE Co-ordinator, said: “It was a really positive year for the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award programme at Highfields, with these seven students completing the challenging Gold Award, as well as dozens more students picking up their Bronze and Silver Awards.
“They have all been on an incredible journey and they have had many memorable experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
“To reach the Gold Award standard in the DofE programme is an incredible achievement and to be officially presented with their awards in the grounds of Buckingham Palace is a fitting celebration for all their hard work.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme was launched in 1956 with the aim of inspiring, guiding and supporting young people in their self-development. The awards scheme challenges students and allows them to discover the world around them whilst providing them with invaluable skills and experiences to improve employment prospects.
Hundreds of Highfields students have taken part in the DofE programme since the school started running the scheme around 13 years ago.