Over 70 students from the Middle and Senior Schools are completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award this year in Bronze, Silver and Gold.
The award scheme encourages young people to learn new skills, complete community service and take part in physical activities and adventures.
QMC Duke of Edinburgh coordinator Debra Schofield-Matthews says she thinks the programme is a great opportunity for young people to participate in a lot of different experiences.
“I like to see students push themselves and it is great to see the sense of achievement they get from completing things they found difficult.”
This year Debra introduced Bronze training, practice and qualifying expeditions for students at the Makahika and Kaitoke training centres.
Around 70 students took part in these expeditions, including Year 10 students Samantha Woolley and Angelina del Favero.
“We spent the weekend learning outdoor skills such as map reading, compass navigation and how to prepare a tramping meal safely,” Samantha says.
As part of the adventure students were pushed to their limits.
“On the second day we woke up at 6.15am to heavy rain and drenched tents,” Samantha says.
“Despite the rain, we set out for an exciting day of tramping through streams and bush-bashing. By the end of the weekend, we were tired, wet and covered in mosquito bites, but we were all smiling.”
Angelina says students bonded through their experiences at Kaitoke.
“We felt like giving up at times, however, we all encouraged, helped and waited for one another throughout the tramp,” she says.
“The hours of walking, talking, laughing and crying built extremely strong relationships between us and made it a journey we could never forget.”