CHALLENGES that changed the lives of four Steyning students were celebrated at an awars ceremony with Prince Edward.
The group received their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards at St James’s Palace in London, watched by invited guests.
Merlin Williams, Tim Williams, Emma Watson-Jones and Lara Wilson gained their awards while studying at Steyning Grammar School’s Sixth Form College.
Merlin said it was all about taking up new challenges, such as a four-day expedition in the Lake District and helping at a trampoline class for disabled children.
“All the parts of the Duke of Edinburgh Award helped build my confidence in the guise of new challenges, adventure and physical activity while having a great time forming new friendships,” he added.
Tim said the award had inspired him to travel to a remote area of Fiji in his gap year, to teach students English.
“It absolutely changed my life,” he added.
The skills gained were ‘truly invaluable’, said Emma, and the experiences had been memorable.
“The hard times were very hard, but the good times more than outweighed them and I have many happy and amusing tales to tell,” she said.
The award scheme is going from strength to strength at the school, with a further six students achieving gold before they left this summer.
As a result, the number of places availaable has been increased to 20, with the new year 12 recruits now preparing for their first training weekend in the Peak District.
Mrs Sally Randall, director of sixth form, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh Award gives the students a real sense of adventure and every section gives the students something different.
“They enjoy new experiences, discover fresh talents and are all challenged by their personally-designed programme of activities.”