Meet Sarah Leenars - St Mark's first Duke of Ed Gold Award Recipient

"Do it. You’ve got nothing to lose but so much to gain!"

Class of 2021 member Sarah Leenars, is the first St Mark's student to receive The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Gold Award, the highest level obtainable, and is to be commended on this wonderful achievement. We took the opportunity to chat with Sarah about her gold achievements and words of advice for other students considering entering the Awards Program.

Why did you decide to participate in The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards?

In Year 9, I heard about the Duke of Ed award during assembly. As they described what the award entailed, I realised I am already involved in all the activities to complete the award. So, I decided I might as well get recognition for what I already do, and I signed up.

What part of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award did you enjoy the most?

I really enjoyed the adventure journey component. Yes, it was challenging at times, but it made me realise I am capable of more than I thought I could do, and I made so many new friendships and memories!

What was the most challenging part of the Awards?

The adventure journey hiking trips were the most rewarding and challenging part of the Duke of Ed. Hiking in the middle of winter with wet clothes and shoes and with people I had never met before pushed me out of my comfort zone. Although this doesn’t sound pleasant, it was truly amazing. Hiking through the bush, playing camp games along the way, having a hot chocolate in the morning overlooking hills of greenery, sitting by the fire at night, watching the stars and the sense of achievement when you make it to the end of the hike!

How has the Award impacted you?

Not only has it allowed me to gain recognition for the things I was already doing, but it has helped me network with people from across WA and make memories I will cherish forever.

In what ways do you believe your Duke of Ed Award achievements will help you?

Completing the award shows long-term commitment and dedication to a diverse range of activities. I think this is really important that an individual can possess a diverse skill set, increases employment opportunities and opens avenues you haven’t even thought of.

What would you say to students who are considering participating in the awards?

Do it. You’ve got nothing to lose but so much to gain! You will be well supported and encouraged by Mrs Upson every step of the way.

Where has life taken you since leaving the gates of St Mark’s?

I have just finished my first year of physiotherapy at the University of Notre Dame. I have continued to be involved in all the activities I was a part of when completing the award and have taken on more leadership roles within my activities, and kept in touch with all the friends I made along the way!

For further information about The Duke of Edinburgh Awards, head to their website or email Mrs Jane Upson our Award Leader at St Mark's.