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Gold for Josh

03 Dec 2018

Year 13 student Josh Ting has had a golden finish to his final year, picking up the gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

After 18 months of hard work across the spheres of service, sports and skills, Josh has achieved his goal.

But, he says it has been “more about the journey” than the finish.

“When I heard about the Duke of Edinburgh award in early 2017, I felt I’d like to give it a shot. I knew it was a good scheme to be involved in and I felt it was a challenge I could set for myself.”

As well as juggling school work, badminton, and a social life, Josh knuckled down to meet the requirements of the award and found the service component had the greatest impact on him.

He fronted up to the Anthony Wilding Retirement Village and offered his services as a volunteer, surprising the staff, residents and himself by what followed.

“I introduced myself and started working about three to four hours a week as an activities coordinator, encouraging the residents to exercise. Over my time there I got to know them well. Some have passed away in that time. You get to see people at their most vulnerable. The thing I’ve learned is patience. Some are not as mentally aware as others, and you learn that you have to be a lot more patient than you normally would be.”

A 21-day Outward Bound course at Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds was another major learning experience for Josh.

“It covered the practice journeys component of the Duke of Edinburgh award and in the process I learned a lot about myself. We were a group of 13 and it was all about group dynamics. Having no cell phone throughout was quite an experience in itself, and it felt weird to return to normality at the end.”

For the skills section of the award Josh opted for public speaking and to equip himself with the proficiency he needed, he joined Toastmasters. 

“At the beginning I was right out of my comfort zone, but once I got over my nerves and started to learn how to perform, it was fantastic. It has been an awesome experience.”

In all Josh’s work for the award has taken him on an amazing journey.

“It’s been a top of the year experience for me. It’s been about becoming a more well-rounded person. I’m really glad I did it. It has been about the journey.”

His life for the past four years has been an eye opener since joining College in Year 11, he says.

“College has had a huge influence on my life. It’s been like an opening up of the lid – seeing all the opportunities available, and having the support to follow them.”

Off to Otago University in 2019, Josh hopes to get into medicine.

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