Duke of Edinburgh at PCYC Mount Gravatt
In 2015, Runcorn State High School approached PCYC Mt Gravatt to run the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DoE) International Awards program for a group of their Year 9 students. Through funding from Energex, PCYC Mt Gravatt was able to support 10 students to start their DoE journey. The students originally selected came from low socio-economic backgrounds and were identified as being at-risk of disengaging at school.
To earn an Award, each young person must learn a skill, improve their physical wellbeing, volunteer in their community and experience a team adventure in a new environment – so it was a great achievement for all 10 students to successfully obtain their Bronze Award.
From the initial group’s success, Energex funded a smaller group to continue the DoE program to work towards achieving their Silver Award. The group worked hard to successfully earn their Award together, which included a long and difficult hike in the Gold Coast Hinterland.
Once again with support from Energex, three chose to complete their DoE experience to achieve their third and final Gold Award. These three young men, Mohamed Kenneh, Zeke Homann and Gad Muhiire, now in Year 12, are all on the verge of achieving their Gold Awards.
Kirsty Keay, Runcorn State High School Officer of Welfare and Learning said since Year 9 these boys have thrived in their confidence and leadership.
“These young men have thrived in their community and at school and have all attributed their involvement with PCYC Queensland and the Duke of Ed program for their growth and development,” said Ms Keay.
Zeke Homan, 17, who was named School Arts Captain this year, also participated in PCYC Queensland’s State Youth Leadership Program (SYLP) and is hoping to attend University next year to study an Arts/Teaching degree.
“Being connected to PCYC Queensland has opened so many doors for me. I believe that PCYC is a place that allows young people to develop into who they need to be,” said Zeke.
“I have made so many memories and learnt so many things whilst participating in SYLP and DoE. I have experienced so many different challenges it is hard to name them all, however I have overcome so many fears and have pushed myself out of my comfort zone,” he said.
“One of my favourite memories was a camp inside PCYC Mt Gravatt, where we played music and had such an amazing time,” he said.
Gad Muhiire,18, is currently working two casual jobs and is looking to take a gap year then study music.
“The biggest thing I have learned from the DoE program is about leadership – and how being a leader is not just about taking charge, it’s about making sure there is equal participation and that everyone joins to make once big decision,” said Gad.
“I have also learnt a lot about myself. Before the program I was shy and introverted and didn’t know how to talk to other people. Now, I am connecting to people more easily and feel more confident,” he said.
Mohamed Kenneh, 17, named School Sports Captain this year, also attended SYLP and said his biggest challenge was doing the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.
“The Kokoda Track put me under physical and mental stress that I hadn’t been through before, but it was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Mohamed.
“Through DoE I have learnt life skills, to be resilient, and it mentally helped to stabilise me. SYLP was awesome and teaches you how to be a leader and control your emotions and how to engage other people,” he said.
“I got to push myself our of my comfort zone and took on challenges I would not have done before,” he said.