The Oratory was invited to attend the Duke of Edinburgh Award ceremony at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the students that had passed their Gold award.
The sun was out on the grounds of Buckingham Palace and there was a tangible air of achievement surrounding the gathering of so many successful Duke of Edinburgh candidates. This setting was a world away from the exotic location in which the school expedition took place – Morocco.
The boys landed in Marrakech to journey towards their destination, the Toubkal National Park, in the Atlas Mountains. Prior to the expedition, the boys enjoyed a week’s orientation in a community centre in Asni. This offered them the chance to acclimatise, assist with community projects and enjoy the generous hospitality of the local residents. The expedition was to follow and this required the boys to be self-sufficient over the four-day period and to carry all the equipment they needed, while following their planned route, under remote supervision.
The Duke of Edinburgh ceremony
HRH The Countess of Wessex and HRH The Earl of Wessex were also in attendance at the palace, presenting the young achievers their awards and taking time to talk to as many individuals as they could.
In addition, our group enjoyed the company of Conrad Humphreys – the adventurer and triple round-the-world sailor. Conrad, who is known to many as a cast member from Channel 4’s Mutiny on the Bounty recreation, spent a long time meeting and greeting the candidates, before sharing with them stories and lessons learnt from previous experiences in sport and in business. Also present at the ceremony was Oratory student Edward Hamilton who left in 2015.
Current boys attending The Oratory are encouraged to take part in The Duke of Edinburgh programme which is offered to all students Form 4 upwards. Weekly sessions where life skills and the 20 conditions of the award are learnt and practiced are well attended and felt by the boys to be rewarding. Congratulations to all those who have achieved their gold award and best of luck to those who are currently on the programme here at the Oratory.