DofE Award thrives at Heathfield Community College as students go for Gold!

11th October

A welcome rest and orientation for some DofE participants

The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme is thriving at Heathfield Community College with large numbers signing up for Bronze and a high rate of completion through to Silver and Gold. Ms Barlow said: “Thanks to the hard work and commitment of a range of staff, as well as the support of their parents and the Rotary who have generously backed the scheme at the College, we look forward to celebrating the achievements of many others as they complete their different sections and enjoy the satisfaction and pride in completing this challenging and highly rewarding Award”.

Heathfield Community College student – Milly has recently completed the impressive feat of achieving her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver and Gold awards during her time at the college. She is the first student to complete at the highest level since the College became a centre for DofE in 2018/19.

Milly describes herself as previously a shy person, completing her D of E sections and expedition gave her the opportunity to overcome this, gaining experience working in a team. This benefited Milly as this year she has moved away to university and being less shy has helped her integrate into the university community more easily.

For each section of her Gold Award Milly had to complete different challenges.

  • She started her volunteering during Covid lockdown by litter picking in the local area, finishing by helping at a local Guide group with activities, providing interactive games for them to play and assisting the other leaders in explaining more challenging activities to the girls.
  • For the skill section she learnt to drive, it took 50 hours which was roughly 25 lessons. Milly passed first time on the 24th February 2021!
  • Running with her Dad and his friend down the Cuckoo Trail was a great Physical activity, started during the pandemic as many indoor physical activities were closed. They started by running the couch to 5K and once finished they discovered a 5 to 10K app. The longest run she completed was 12.5km long and went from Heathfield to Hailsham!

Milly’s residential trip was a biology camp at Flatford Mill, Suffolk. This was perfect as she had already accepted an unconditional place at the University of Suffolk to study Biological Sciences. Over the week she looked at different sampling techniques and learnt about lots of different wildlife. They studied topics in the morning, before going out to different environments and using the techniques and ethical ideas learnt in the classroom to help us identify the different species. Milly found the other students on the trip were not only really nice but were also completing their Gold Awards so had a lot in common.

The expedition was not easy but it was an amazing experience none the less. Having practiced by wild camping in the Lake District the assessed expedition used campsites in the Peak District and involved the group travelling through unfamiliar territory, self-planned and directed over 4 days, 3 nights; with 8 hours planned activity each day.

Milly’s motivation in starting the Award Scheme was personal “I originally started my Bronze D of E to help me gain confidence in myself and to help me determine my personal limits. I remember being determined to complete my Silver after my Grandfathers death because he really enjoyed hiking and I knew that he would have been very proud. I think that by the time I finished Silver I became determined to get my Gold because I didn’t see the point in stopping two thirds of the way through (and my Mum really wanted to visit Buckingham Palace)”.

DofE thrives at Heathfield.

Completing any or all of the Duke of Edinbugh Awards is highly recommended, they can help you gain confidence, learn new skills and it is also a great way to demonstrate your determination, perseverance and teamwork when applying to College, University or for a Job. Milly says: “I am incredibly proud to have completed my D of E awards and now consider University to be my next big challenge!

An opportunity to experience dramatic scenery and test your resources