Golden achievement a first for Foundation Studies students

After three years of training and expeditions, four Foundation Studies students from Truro College have battled the elements to become the first students from the department to complete their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition.

Starting with the Bronze Award three years ago on the Camel Trail, which consisted of two days and one night, the Gold expedition lasted an epic four days and three nights, taking the students across the wilds of Exmoor. The team of four students, including Frazer, Josh, Kaj and Isaac, was joined by three LSA’s from the Foundation Studies department.

The Gold award took the students across 35 miles along the Lorna Doone Valley in Exmoor all the way to Dunster Castle, during which they camped and trekked as an independent team. The expedition included some very steep hills and challenging terrain, all of which had to be done while providing their own navigation. 

The intrepid adventurers embarked on months of expedition training leading up to the final excursion that included two practice expeditions, one on Dartmoor and one on Exmoor, that took them through some challenging terrain and a variety of weather conditions.

Of course, the Duke of Edinburgh Award isn’t just a walk in the park. Throughout the year, the students have also taken part in various volunteering, physical activities and skill-based activities in order to complete their award.

The skills have ranged from work skills to an internship at Treliske while the physical activities have included Walking Wednesdays and dance. The volunteering choices were equally varied with one student conducting beach cleans, one volunteering at Newquay Orchard and one volunteering as a member of staff to help the Bronze and Silver award students at the College.

Josh Billing, one of the students who completed the Gold award, thoroughly enjoyed the expedition, saying: “I had the best time ever, it has been wonderful. I loved volunteering, walking and camping, even when it was raining. Charlotte is the best!”

Tracey and Jason Billing echoed their son’s delight over the award, saying: “Josh has had the most amazing time completing his Duke of Edinburgh award. He has loved every aspect of his DofE journey, but especially enjoyed the expeditions.

“The Duke of Edinburgh program is delivered by an excellent teacher, Charlotte Mackrill, and her attitude and enthusiasm is a real credit to what she has achieved by supporting our children, all of whom have quite specific and unique individual needs. She encourages them to embrace the challenge ahead and motivates them to succeed using various strategies to support their individual needs. Our children would not have been able to complete this wonderful challenge without her unwavering support.”

 “From being someone who did not like walking when he first joined Truro College, Frazer has taken part in both the jubilee walk twice at 10 Torres on Dartmoor, culminating in completing his Duke of Edinburgh Gold. It has been a fantastic journey for both Frazer and us. He has grown into a fine young man. From being someone who did not like to mix and share his time with others he has now progressed with confidence to volunteering his time at the Hawkeshead store in Truro, learning about all of the products and communication with the general public.

“We cannot thank the staff at Truro College enough but especially Charlotte Mackrill who has been inspirational for the whole group, and her driving force and dedication has made this all,” said Martin and Margaret Eddy, parents of DofE Gold successful Frazer.  

“It was wonderful to see all of the team complete such an amazing achievement and see them all accomplish such an amazing challenge. I have watched the students grow in confidence and self-belief over the last three years and it has been such a privilege to enable them to become the first ever Foundation Studies team to complete a Gold DofE expedition,” said DofE Leader Charlotte Mackrill.

After a residential later on in the year, the students will have officially completed their Gold DofE awards, which will make them the first Foundation Studies students at the College to do so.

The Foundation Studies department is looking forward to another great year of DofE expeditions as they have 12 Bronze, eight Silver and six Gold students completing their awards.