Published: 24.05.2022

On 18 May, 31 students from the Pardubice Region received their bronze-silver awards for the Duke of Edinburgh International Award (DofE) programme, which was founded 66 years ago by Prince Philip, at the House of Music at the Pardubice Conservatoire. These young people spent 6 to 12 months volunteering, playing sport, developing their skills and finishing with a multi-day expedition in the countryside, in the Czech Republic or abroad.

The programme now operates in 130 countries worldwide and 1.3 million young people, including more than 5 000 Czechs, take part in it every year. "Today in Pardubice, we awarded 31 active students who completed their set challenges over a period of 6 to 12 months. Among the awardees were students who learned how to sew their own clothes, walked up to 8 dogs at a time in the Studená Loučka kennel, or took up parkour. Thanks to their participation in the programme, students from the Gymnasium Polička even took part in a Czech-German exchange as part of the DofE Buddy Programme and spent several days in Germany with their German peers," said Tomáš Vokáč, Executive Director of the DofE programme.

Anna Andrlíková and Anna Homolková from the Gymnasium in Polička evaluate their stay in Germany with enthusiasm: "The aim of our expedition was to create a Czech-German expedition dictionary, which we succeeded in doing. This experience helped us to overcome our fear of a foreign environment, forced us to step out of our comfort zone, get to know a new culture and actively use the language we have been working on for a long time. We have made new friends and formed friendships for life. We recommend a similar experience to everyone!"

"In the Pardubice Region, 14 schools of different focuses have already joined the DofE programme. Among the most successful schools in our region is certainly the Gymnasium Polička, where the programme is very popular. At the beginning of this year, we signed a memorandum of cooperation with the DofE management to express our interest in and support for the activities undertaken by pupils within the programme. In the future, we aim to promote this exceptional project among headteachers so that even more schools will become involved over time," said Josef Kozel, the Pardubice Region's councillor for education.

The students received their awards a few weeks after the DofE National Centre, in collaboration with the Central Bohemia Region and the Partnership Foundation, planted 100 lime trees in Vestec near Prague, creating the unique Prince Philip Alley. The avenue was created in honour of Prince Philip's 100th birthday, which he would have celebrated last year.

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