Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

The Stargazer News

43 HNMCS Students on a Transformational Journey

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is a self-development programme aimed at encouraging young people, aged 14 to 24, to set their own goals and challenges, work towards achieving them, and then be recognized after completion for sustaining the commitment they have made. The fundamental principle is self-motivation.

Holy Name of Mary College School currently has 43 students working towards various levels of this prestigious award that encompasses service, skills, physical recreation and an adventurous journey. This year, despite many barriers, our girls have been working diligently to volunteer in the community and plan experiences that help them fulfill the criteria of each of these sections in a meaningful way.

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Beatrice Carcao recently earned her Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Read more from Beatrice below:

The most enjoyable thing about earning the Duke of Ed Award would be reflecting on the self-growth brought about by the award. It led me to continue old passions and try new things as well. I was able to reconnect with some of my old friends from badminton; something that I wouldn't have done otherwise. I've been able to give back to the community I love directly through volunteering, and also indirectly by forming friendships and laughter to emotionally aid myself and others. These connections and the growth achieved through them are some of the most rewarding parts of the award; especially when looking back.

For my adventurous journey, we travelled around the city for 5 days, exploring Toronto's various rivers and creeks and deciding whether urbanization affected the natural trend known as the Bradshaw Model. As such, we wanted to see if urbanization affected this trend by potentially rerouting rivers and diverting water due to the novel construction of buildings. Through our on-site research and findings, we were able to conclude that yes, urbanization has affected the natural trend of rivers - which was extremely evident at Black Creek (a creek in Toronto that was completely channelized following the flooding of Hurricane Hazel). This Silver level adventurous journey led me to find beauty that I never even knew existed in my own city, just kilometres away from where I live. .


Christina Schleifer recently earned her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s award
Read more from Christina below:

The most enjoyable aspect of earning the Duke of Ed Award was the opportunity to push myself in new ways and expand my horizons. Although I have always been an active member in my community while participating in many extracurriculars, the four sections of the Duke of Ed Award encourage participants to gain a breadth of expertise. While this was what I enjoyed the most, it was also the most challenging as I had to seek opportunities to fulfill the requirements for each section. For the Skill section, I went beyond my comfort zone to join the HNMCS Senior School Choir which was something very new and challenging for me. However, this experience proved to be extremely fun and is one of my favourite memories from my time at HNMCS.

For the Adventurous Journey component, I embarked on a two-day, one-night kayaking excursion. The purpose was to explore the Trent-Severn Waterway System by going through a lock on a kayak. Throughout the journey my team and I endured harsh weather conditions as heavy winds and rain made kayaking to our destination more challenging than anticipated.

One piece of advice that I would give to those thinking of joining the Duke of Ed programme would be to choose activities that are outside of your comfort zone. HNMCS provides numerous opportunities within co-curriculars that students can use towards the completion of their Duke of Ed Award, such as varsity soccer and choir which were two that I participated in. Taking the step to join a co-curricular that is new to you is a great way to make the most of the Duke of Ed Award while gaining new experiences and further developing skills such as perseverance, determination, and confidence.


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Taking the step to join a co-curricular that is new to you is a great way to make the most of the Duke of Ed Award while gaining new experiences and further developing skills such as perseverance, determination, and confidence.
- Christina Schleifer '21