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Proud moment... Blue Mountain College teacher and Duke of Edinburgh Award leader Vicki Crawford (Left) talks to gold award recipients (from left) Georgia Thomson, Natalie Candy, Luci Butler and Tom Hancox (all 18)

Perseverance paid off for four Blue Mountain College year 13 pupils when they achieved Duke of Edinburgh gold awards recently.

They are the first four from year 13 to receive the awards at the college this year. Six more are on target to complete their awards during the new year.

Added to that number will be four former pupils who had also received their awards this year, teacher Vicki Crawford said.

“Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award is alive and well at Blue Mountain College, with many younger students completing their bronze and silver awards also this year,” she said.

“Duke of Ed’s new hash tag # World Ready is true, as the programme turns out well-rounded young citizens who become great assets to their community.”

The pupils engaged in a wide variety of activities in order to earn their gold awards.

Georgia Thomson, Natalie Candy and Luci Butler set up traps in the Blue Mountains for their service section, while Tom Hancox carried out volunteer work for the West Otago Lions and the West Otago A&P Committee.

All four pupils used driving as a new skill and completed a Defensive Driving course.

The pupils played various sports to complete their physical recreation component including netball, volleyball, rugby, water skiing, cricket and personal fitness.

For their adventurous journeys, they tramped from Borland to Manapouri on an uncharted track. The three girls tramped the Greenstone Caples track for their final qualifier, while Tom tramped in the Marlborough Sounds with Outward Bound. Natalie tramped in Nepal with the Youth for Everest party.

Their final section, residential, involved a visit to Ireland for Luci on exchange while Natalie and Tom had a berth each on the Spirit of Adventure.

Meanwhile, Georgia was chosen to attend National Youth Drama school in Napier for her residential section.

“This prestigious achievement is a great one for their CV and will open many doors for them in their chosen careers,” Mrs Crawford said.

They will receive their gold certificate at an awards ceremony in Dunedin next year.

“I am proud of all of my gold awardees and since I have been in charge of the award at Blue Mountain College over the past 10-12 years, I have seen no less than 83 students through to that level of achievement, which is awesome for our small school.”

Georgia said when she finally received confirmation of her gold, she realised how connected she was to other young people all over the world who have done the same.

“It made me feel just as accomplished as all of the others, despite the small size of our country.”

Luci said the award had given her a lot of experiences that she would not have otherwise had.

“It’s really worth it. It has helped me to work with people and has made me more self-directed in getting it completed.”

Tom said the final section of his gold award was completed by attending Outward Bound.

“It was an awesome time in the bush with new friends, pushing myself to the limit.”

Natalie said she had a lot of opportunities to help her achieve her gold award.

“Being exposed to a different lifestyle while visiting Nepal made it all very real to me and being a gold awardee enabled this to happen.

“My advice to others – stick in there and make it happen.”