Gloucester High School (GHS) has been encouraging students to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (Duke of Ed) for a number of years.
The award comprises of three levels, bronze, silver and gold, each progressively more challenging and participants are required to complete four sections at each level - service, skill, physical recreation and adventurous journey. Gold level participants also complete a residential project.
Duke of Ed co-ordinator, Rob Seale with the support of various teachers, recently led the way on a bronze and silver adventure.
On the last Friday of term one, the new group of year nine students looking to tackle the bronze award camped down by the Gloucester River. It was an opportunity for students to test their equipment and practice setting up a campsite. Army Sergeants Luke Kearney and John Downie demonstrated camping techniques and navigation skills.
While the open-air classroom kept the students concentrating, the descending mosquitoes demonstrated the need to be prepared. The next morning, students used the mapped data sheets to navigate their way (in varying degrees of accuracy) through the caravan park, around a neighbouring property finishing at the shed on the Bucketts Scenic Walk.
Year 11 silver Duke of Ed students braved the cold and overgrown walking tracks from the Barrington Tops Trail through to Polblue from May 4 to 6. Spending the first night at Munro’s Hut sorted out the more authentic campers, with students braving the elements and some teachers opting to sleep in the hut.
The second day arrived with clear skies with Ella Blamires and Emily Murray leading the trek. They began early at a cracking pace. Eagle eyed James McLeod kept an eye out for native fauna whilst Jake Moulds single handedly lead the team to the second campsite at Black Swamp.
Sunday morning they set off at a similar pace, stopping briefly at Junction Pools to marvel at the ice that covered everything surrounding the river. While the final stretch found a couple of walkers begin to slow, the sight of Polblue through the trees, helped muster the motivation to complete the journey.
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