Gold awards given at super-sized ceremony

Gold standard . . . Past and present Blue Mountain College pupils receiving their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards, and an audience with Governor›General Dame Patsy Reddy (front, centre) at Kavanagh College, Dunedin on Saturday are, (rear, from left) Cheyanne Candy, Paige McIvor, Sydney Robertson, Caleb Stuart, Rory Munro, Harlie Johnston and Owen Gardner; (front, from left) Samantha Whyte, Charlotte Smith, Chelsea Dew, Becky Thomas, Olivia Reihana and Piper Munro. PHOTO: BMC/SUPPLIED

Current and former Clutha pupils received a royal nod on Saturday, as they headed north to receive their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards.
In a larger than usual ceremony due to Covid 19 cancellations last year, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins presented 52 young people from across Otago and Southland with their awards.
Making up a quarter of that number were 13 current and former Blue Mountain College (BMC) pupils, by far the largest individual group of awardees at the ceremony, held at Kavanagh College.
They, along with former South Otago High School pupils Hania Coll and Sophie and Abbey Mills, had the opportunity to meet and take photos with Governor› General Dame Patsy Reddy, who also attended.
BMC principal Lindy Cavanagh Monaghan said the school was proud of its continued participation in the scheme.
‘‘We had a larger›than› usual group this year, but we always have a very strong representation at the awards.
‘‘The scheme fits well with our school values of respect, responsibility and inclusiveness, and with the character of our West Otago community as a whole, which values community spirit, working together and serving others highly.
‘‘Part of the reason it’s so strong at the college is the tradition of participation that’s been built over time, and part of the reason is down to our excellent programme co›ordinator, Vicki Crawford.’’
She praised Mrs Crawford’s passion and dedication to the scheme.
‘‘We were very proud to enjoy a gathering of awardees and their families in Dunedin after the ceremony.
‘‘If I were wearing a buttoned shirt that day, they all would have popped off.’’
She said the award scheme conferred ‘‘lasting value’’ on participants.
‘‘Former pupils, including those we saw on Saturday, always talk about what an asset the award credit is, wherever you travel in the world.
‘‘It’s internationally recognised, and people everywhere understand the commitment and character required to attain a Gold award.’’
The award requires participants to regularly help people in the community, get fitter through any form of physical exercise, learn a new skill, and go on an adventurous journey in the outdoors.