FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NATIONAL AWARD CEREMONY CELEBRATES STUDENT LEADERS WITH HRH THE EARL OF WESSEX
Chicago, IL. Between Oct 15-22, 2020, The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award â€“ USA, based in Chicago, Illinois, hosted #AWARDSUMMIT, a virtual series of events to celebrate achievements of young leaders of Generation Z, born between 1996â€“2012Â participating in the worldâ€™s largest award achievement program. The Award allows young people to find their purpose, passion and place in the world.
AWARD SUMMIT ROUNDTABLE
His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO, Chairman of the The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award Foundation, kicked off the event series by meeting with twelve recent Award participants and alumni to explore the impact of the Award on their lives and how COVIDâ€™s challenges have been met in part by applying habits and skills learned through earning the Award.
Freya, a Silver Award Holder and Gold Award participant, summarized the Award as: â€śTrying new things that you havenâ€™t ever experienced before because normally if you play a sport, you play. If you have an instrument, then you play. You are in that zone and you donâ€™t really look for anything new to try. I think the Award really opens up all the different aspects of you like skills, fitness, adventure, and volunteering.â€ť
Michelle, a Bronze and Silver Award Holder, shared: â€śOne of the things Iâ€™ve learned is to be adaptable. Thatâ€™s something youâ€™re just going to use in almost any platform and any part of life.â€ť She found the Award inspired her to build a new circle of friends through trying new activities and aided her in a move to the US as well as with the transition to college.
Responding to criticism of their Generation, Maya, a Bronze Award Holder and Silver Award participant, offered: â€śI think weâ€™ve been able to use technology as a strength of ours and know how to use it to connect with people.â€ť Ben, a Bronze, Silver and Gold Award Holder, echoed this sentiment, noting: â€śThis year you can see frustration coming out in terms of questions [from our Generation] about our political systems or economic systems or racial justice. On the one hand thereâ€™s a lot of frustration and maybe a little bit of despair to feeling like we expect more from our societies and our communities. Then on the other hand thereâ€™s also a lot of commitmentâ€¦ in doing something to make the world better, to contribute positively.â€ť
Lucas, a Bronze Award Holder and Silver Award participant, rose to this challenge. He shared his passion for holding voter registration drives, â€śwhich I think is very important in my community, especially so that we can get people who normally donâ€™t usually go out and vote. I think that the Award has made me think of ideas to help my community as well as try to improve myself.â€ť
GENERATION Z: TRAILBLAZERS
Award Holder and recent Princeton Valedictorian Nicholas Johnson joined HRH The Earl of Wessex on October 15 at an event about Generation Z co-hosted by Award USA and the Commonwealth Club and moderated by Board Chair Nichelle Carr. With a discussion centered around the challenges facing young people coming of age during these difficult times and how Award USA is built for this moment, topics included climate change and addressing racial justice.
AWARD USA NATIONAL AWARD CEREMONY
The first ever virtual National Award Ceremony was the culminating event on October 22. More than 180 Award Holders were celebrated. Participants were greeted with congratulations from HRH The Earl of Wessex. Joining in those sentiments was British Consul General Alan Gogbashian speaking on behalf of Dame Karen Pierce, British Ambassador to the USA. He noted, â€śIt is inspiring to remember that although the Award was established 65 years ago in the UK by Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, it remains a globally recognized and highly regarded youth achievement award.Â The timeless benefits of skills, strengths and confidence that participants develop throughout their Award journey ensure that the program remains just as fit for 2020 as it was when it started. You are proof that some of the most effective learning takes place outside of the classroom.â€ť Other dignitaries included remarks from The Royal Airforce Red Arrows, and attendance by British Consul General to Boston Peter Abbott, and Honorary British Consul General to Philadelphia Oliver St. Clair Franklin II.
Among those honored were 25 Gold Awards, 74 Silver Awards, and 115 Bronze Awards. Award Holders, with the guidance of volunteer mentors, complete a set of globally accredited activities in four areas which progressively involve time and dedication to complete individualized goals: voluntary service, skill attainment, physical recreation, adventurous journeys, and a culminating project for Gold Awards. The Award globally is a proven framework resulting in young people with perseverance, problem solving abilities, leadership skills, and resilience.
Gold Award honorees included: Michelle Catao, Aerin Chavez, Sela Diab, Kresten Due, Sofia Ford, Alexander Harding-Bradley, Mary Jonas, Peibo Li, David Luner, Mirryn McDonald, Aidan McKenna, Lindsey Moser, Nikola Muyot, Ethan Ngai, Anya Patel, JuanCarlos Pena, Lokesh Pugalenthi, Morgan Ratzan-Wank, Tehreem Sadiq, Anand Singh, Eleanor Smith, Femke Teunissen, Christiano Wennmann, Rosie Westerbeck, and Kiran Wijesekera.
ABOUT AWARD USA
The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award USA is a flexible and proven youth development program for 14â€“24 year-olds that complements formal classroom learning and focuses on real-world experiences that build essential life skills including character, resilience and self-confidence.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic halting many traditional educational, employment and leadership opportunities, Award USAâ€™s structure and skill-building opportunities are a critical resource for young people coming of age during these difficult times. A recent survey conducted by The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award Foundation found that 54% of young adults are concerned about their mental health and nearly half are experiencing high levels of stress.
As todayâ€™s young people face the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 as well as calls to address racial injustice, the Award is dedicated to ensuring that young people will have what they need for the future: to benefit from great non-formal education and learning.
 Survey of 4,000+ 14-24 year olds in 42 countries, May/June 2020
Media Contact: Tracy Jensen; Marketing and Communications, Frizz Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org, (630) 426-9712
Notes for Editors
- Over 500 young people are currently pursuing their Award in the United States
- 31 schools, after school programs, and youth groups are now signed up as Award Centers, offering their students the experience of and for a lifetime.
- A tape of the Award USA National Award Ceremony can be accessed here.
- The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award is a global, non-formal education framework which challenges young people to develop new skills, get physically active, learn about teamwork and leadership through adventurous journeys and volunteer within their community.
- The #WORLDREADY campaign is a global effort amongst the Award family, to showcase the inspirational activities of young Award participants around the world and how, through the development of skills such as resilience, confidence, adaptability and communication, young people can be ready to take on the world of today and tomorrow.
- The READY Awareness global video regarding adaptations made during COVID can be viewed here.
- Leaders of industry recognize the Award provides applicants with quantifiable traits. The Award is a prestigious achievement for resume listing and college/university applications.
- There are currently 1.1 million young people completing their own unique program, via hundreds of thousands of youth-focused partners and operators â€“ including schools, youth organizations, examination boards and youth offender institutions.
- Since its launch more than 60 years ago, millions of young people have participated and received Awards, with millions more benefitting from its impact in communities around the world.
- Both national and international case studies, imagery and additional video content are available on request.