Before the Easter holidays our intrepid year 12s received their bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards at a special ceremony at the Octagon Theatre.
The students who attended the ceremony were Jordan Oliver, Emma Stock, Nikita Spiller, Keziah Thomas, Edward Hawker, Frankie Ferrari, Catherine Watts, Callum Gidley and Louise Richards. An audience of 600 people comprised students and staff from Somerset schools, plus parents and other family members.
Presenting the awards was Emily Penn, a woman who has spent years working on an eco projects at sea and in China. Emily’s story was truly inspirational as she told the audience how she had trained as an architect specialising in eco cities. Having obtained a work placement at an eco city in China, Emily decided to travel there sustainably and it took her six weeks. She then was offered an job as an architect in New Zealand and decided to get there this time aboard an eco boat conducting research into eco fuels. Six years on she is still working on the eco boat, this time studying plastic in the sea.
Fairmead’s Duke of Edinburgh coordinator Sharon Chawley said: ‘Emily was very inspiring as she is a young woman doing incredible work on our oceans. The theme of her talk was to look for the signposts in your life. She could have just flown over to New Zealand and become an architect, but instead she got on an eco boat and became a marine biologist’.
Fairmead’s ten students have earned their awards by completing a number of hours of community service, fundraising, swimming and gym. They also had to do orienteering practice following a night spent camping on the school field. The students then went to Weymouth for a real two day camping trip where they had to walk for six hours a day. They are also to be congratulated for fundraising £250, which was divided equally between the charity Water Aid and buying new tents for the next group of D of E students.
The students had a variety of comments about the Duke of Edinburgh experience, including: ‘It was hard work’, ‘I liked walking in the fields’, ‘I was able to map read and lead the team’, ‘I was worried about sleeping in the tent in the dark, but it was okay, and, mostly I liked the sleeping’.
Sharon said how proud she was of all the students: ‘Some of the students were scared to death about getting up on the stage in front of the audience, but afterwards they were all filled up with self-esteem. People came up to us afterwards and said they were full of admiration for what our students were doing. This year, for the first time ever, we have students in the sixth form who are interested in completing their silver award’.
Students who have also attained their bronze awards but who were not in attendance at the ceremony are: Hamza Ahmed, Matthew Dabinett, Niamh Salisbury, Tyler Card and William Day.