Duke of Ed at Fort Street High School in these challenging times

Duke of Ed at Fort Street High School in these challenging times

Congratulations to Fort St Gold Awardees!

Congratulations to Jamie Kwon (Year 12) and Danny Lai (Fortian 2019), the school’s latest recipients of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Jamie and Danny received their certificates at separate ceremonies on Wednesday 11 March from NSW Governor The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC. Her Excellency spoke movingly at both ceremonies about the hard work that Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants put into their award and the difference that it makes to their communities. She also talked about the value that the community places on award recipients because of their dedication.  I also spoke at Danny’s morning ceremony on behalf of Award Leaders (Duke of Edinburgh Award Leader’s Speech) about my journey doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and my challenge to Gold awardees to continue to embrace opportunities and help their communities. Ms Salisbury represented Fort Street at Jamie’s afternoon ceremony.


Expedition update

Unfortunately the Silver expedition has been postponed and the Gold expeditions are also likely to be postponed because of the COVID-19 virus. The Silver expedition has been rescheduled to 2nd-7th November – although if the COVID-19 outbreak has not been resolved by then, the expedition will be cancelled. Given that this will be at the end of students’ Silver award journeys, only students who have finished or almost finished the other components of their Silver award program will be able to attend the expedition.  If students have turned 16, and have finished all the components of their award program except the expedition, then I can help them start their Gold award program for all their other sections early, and finish the expedition for their Silver award when it is rescheduled. The Bronze expedition in late term 3 is currently unaffected. Ms Jenkyn will provide more information about the timing of Silver and Gold expeditions via email and the Google Classrooms when available.

Changes to Duke of Ed activities

Many students’ Duke of Ed activities will likely need to change due to widespread closure of normal activities. Don’t forget that you can count activities done at home as part of your award program.

For skill, practice of your instrument, work at home on an art portfolio, coding a game, cooking for the family and learning a new language are all examples of activities that can be done at home that you can count for your Duke of Ed. You can ask any relevant teacher to be your assessor for these activities, including your year adviser, Ms Jenkyn or me. Make sure you take photos of your progress and upload them to your log as evidence of completion of your activities.

For your physical recreation, the school runs a number of sporting clubs including the before-school running club and numerous lunchtime clubs that are still in place. If the school is shut, then students are encouraged to complete a personal fitness program such as jogging, walking, cycling or cross training. You can ask a PE teacher or the Sports Coordinator to be your assessor in this instance. I recommend using an app such as MapMyRun or photos to provide evidence of the completion of your activities, and upload your screenshots to your Duke of Ed log.

Service will be one of the most challenging sections to complete as social distancing measures become more widespread. While some activities have been cancelled, other Fort St service opportunities are still going. The school’s Student 2 Student reading program with the Smith Family will likely continue to run, and students can talk to Ms Maddox for more information about this important program.

For Bronze students who had previously chosen Service as a major section, you can email Ms Page or me to change your major to another section.

I encourage you to consider registering with your local community aid organisation to see how you can help neighbours at risk. If you are aware of neighbours who need help with particular issues such as shopping, gardening or walking the dog, this can be a great form of service in these times.

Another option is virtual volunteering. Students could consider registering with one of the virtual volunteering opportunities covered in Do Something Near You https://dosomethingnearyou.com.au/?s=2049%2C+Petersham&cause_type=virtual-volunteering, such as:

– transcribing historical collections for the Australian Museum https://australianmuseum.net.au/get-involved/citizen-science/digivol/

– online volunteering with the United Nations https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en

– Penguin Watch https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/penguintom79/penguin-watch

Wrap with Love is another great service you can do at home, where you can knit squares and wraps for blankets which are distributed to needy people in Australia and overseas. https://www.wrapwithlove.org/how-it-works/

You can ask any teacher who you know to assess you for your volunteering. Don’t forget to include some evidence such as screenshots or photos in your logs.​

If you need to change your Duke of Ed activities, simply:

– create the new activities in the online record book – you can create up to 3 activities for each section as the situation changes.

– complete a new participant award plan https://dukeofed.com.au/resource/participant-award-plan/. If the school is still open, then ask the teacher to sign it. If not, then email the teacher you want to assess you and ask their permission. Forward the email from the teacher to Ms Page so she can approve the new activity.

– if you have a new assessor outside the school, they need to complete the Volunteer Code of Conduct and Appendix 11 paperwork. Electronic copies of these forms are available in the Google Classrooms. These can either be printed and completed by hand and given/scanned & emailed to Ms Page or the electronic versions can be emailed to assessors and completed versions emailed to Ms Page. Ms Page’s email address is natalie.page8@det.nsw.edu.au.

– you can backdate your logs to the time you were registered in your current award level.

Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions about your Duke of Ed program.

Don’t forget that even though times are challenging and social distancing is becoming more common, that in many ways this makes it even more important to look after your fitness and community and continue to learn through Duke of Ed.

Caroline Jerrems – Fort St Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Coordinator