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Going for Gold with The Duke of Edinburgh Awards

NEWS 4 Oct 2021

Since The Duke of Edinburgh’s (DoE) Award was launched in 1956, more than 6million young people around the world have taken part in the international program.

The program aims to help young people build belief in themselves, feel confident to take on challenges, follow their passions and discover untapped talents.

Many high schools in Australia offer The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program, which comprises Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.

Students can start working towards achieving their Bronze level award from age 14, with each level of the award focusing on four key areas of Volunteering, Skills, Physical and Expedition.

Ms Tamsin Visick, Coordinator of the Duke of Edinburgh’s program at Haileybury, says universities and employers regard participation in the program highly because of the skills it develops.

“Children who do The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award on top of their schooling show character, discipline and that they’re able to work outside normal boundaries. They are self-motivated and develop independence and greater self-esteem,” says Ms Visick.

“Being part of the program shows potential to employers and universities because the award provides a platform for young people to be exposed to opportunities and different situations, so they see a bigger picture. They realise they can contribute and have an impact in society.”

Haileybury students achieve coveted awards in The Duke of Edinburgh Awards

A number of our Haileybury students have achieved the highly sought-after Gold level in The Duke of Edinburgh awards. We sat down recently with one student, Spencer Hanssen, to hear about his DoE journey.

News - Duke of Edinburgh 2021 - Spencer Hanssen
Spencer Hanssen

This year, Spencer Hanssen (Year 12) received the Gold Award after four years of being part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s program at Haileybury.

During this time, he has undertaken a range of activities from helping to raise a guide dog puppy and helping to live stream local church services during lockdown to playing basketball and completing a nine-day hike in Eildon, where he volunteered in a remote residential camp and learned about Indigenous culture.

News - Duke of Edinburgh 2021
Duke of Edinburgh Award students enjoyed their outdoor experience at Eildon

“We worked with Aboriginal Elder Auntie Aurora to build a ‘humpy’ and we learned about indigenous edible and medicinal plants to create an indigenous garden bed,” says Spencer.

“One of the highlights was assisting at community breakfasts in Year 10. Being able to go to an early morning program and to begin someone’s day by greeting them with a smile and having long conversations with the people that walked through the doors is something I will never forget.

News - Duke of Edinburgh 2021

“DoE has allowed me to deepen my community engagement, pushed me out of my comfort zone to try new things and has helped me develop new skills. The program pushes you to be the best version of yourself.”

Congratulations to all DoE Award-Winning Students For 2021


Spencer Hanssen

Chiara Maiorino

Jeremy Nielsen

Tiffany Smith


Sam Nielsen

Victoria Paitaridis

Oliver Perry

Jules Seng

Michael Sun

Luke Yin


Charlie Bamford

Laura Gong

Aysel Sapukotana

Chirandith Suraweera

Award recognition to Haileybury Gold DoE Achievers

For the past three years, the DoE Gold presentations have not been able to be presented due to the pandemic so at the end of 2021, to celebrate these outstanding achievements the XX
delivered a virtual presentation to all Gold awardees, with acknowledgments from Sue Lloyd-William AO (DoE Chair), Sally Capp (Lord Mayor of Melbourne), and Prince Edward (Chair of the DoE Award).

Congratulations to the following Haileybury students and recent alumni who achieved this prestigious award at the top level:

Spencer Hanssen - 2021
Chiara Maiorino - 2021
Jeremy Nielsen - 2021
Tiffany Smith - 2021
Ellen Pratt - 2020
Brigitte Shill - 2020
Cody Bellgrove - 2019
Ethan Hamilton - 2019
Jeremy Harland - 2019
Nell Wallace-Pawley - 2019

What do other DoE Students Say About the Program?

“The most exciting moments of the program are definitely during the ‘Adventurous Journey’. I personally love travelling and making memories of new places and my trip to Cambodia with SHINE definitely fits that description. Besides that, the award motivated me to help out in the ELC and I really enjoyed reading to the children. The DoE Award acts as a motivator to explore one’s surrounding community and has improved my confidence and communication.”—Steven Li (Silver Award)

“One highlight of the program is having the ability to teach young dancers through my community service section and observe the impact I’ve had on the girls and boys I teach—not only through the progression of their skills but also being able to connect with them and see their enjoyment. I love walking into the studio each week to see their smiling faces.”—Tiffany Smith (Girls DoE Ambassador)

Haileybury also has the Compass Award for students aged 10 to 14 that is modelled on the DoE program and fosters the same kinds of skills.

“The program gives young people skills to go into the world, to mingle and it helps them transition out of Haileybury. It gives them a firm belief that they can do things and they gain a valuable sense of accomplishment,” says Ms Visick.