ACT News

Canberra's Duke of Edinburgh Award community defend knighthood

Canberra's Duke of Edinburgh Award community has defended Tony Abbott's decision to make Prince Philip a knight of the Order of Australia, the country's highest order.

The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award chairman Shane Stone congratulated and thanked Prince Philip for his "ongoing support of Australian youth over the last 52 years". 

"The accolade recognises the numerous contributions Prince Philip has made to young people internationally and in Australia," he said.

"In Australia alone, over 700,000 young people have undertaken the award, with many participants referring to the impact of it as 'life-changing'."

Canberra Grammar School's Duke of Edinburgh Award leader Rosie Carlson said about 15 to 20 students enrolled in the program each year.

"The boys who see the program through really learn much about leadership, organisation, planning and the value of service to the community/others," she said.

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More than 22,000 Australians aged between 14 and 25 participate in the scheme each year, with about 66,000 taking part worldwide.

Students from a number of Canberra schools were recognised for their community service as part of the awards last year, including Canberra Girls' Grammar School, Dickson College, Erindale College and Gungahlin College.

"It requires them to complete a minimum of three months, maximum of 12 to each activity, so long-term commitment is encouraged rather than a whole series of random, unconnected events," Ms Carlson said.

Mr Stone said the foundation championed by Prince Philip had "exceeded all expectations with respect to its outreach and positive impact on young people".

"The outcomes of the award for young Australians have been particularly beneficial regarding developing good citizenship through volunteering work, career and personal development through extension of interests and personal life skills, and leadership qualities through teamwork, goal setting and peer recognition."

Ms Carlson said many students had participated in the program from an early age.

"We currently have five year 12 boys working at achieving their Gold Award and it is really pleasing that many of them, like Ben Mynott and Tom Pickard, have worked their way up through the earlier levels before reaching this point," she said.