Valedictorian. Eagle Scout. All-America.
Those are teenage honors that everyone knows, and understands.
But the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award? Not so much.
What a shame.
Molly Procter is a Staples High School sophomore. She’s been hard at work on the project. She’s not looking for press or praise — but she deserves both.
Its website calls this “the world’s leading youth achievement award.” That’s debatable. But no one can dispute its rigor.
Established in the UK in 1956 by (duh) the Duke of Edinburgh for people ages 14-24, the award has spread to over 140 countries. It recently became available in the New York area.
The Edinburgh Award includes 4 “sections” that each candidate must complete: Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition. There are bronze, silver and gold levels.
Molly began working toward her bronze in August. She’s about to complete it. She is believed to be the 1st Westporter to do so, and one of the first in the tri-state area.
For the Volunteering component, Molly has worked at the Senior Center almost weekly since November. She fulfilled the Physical part by playing junior varsity volleyball at Staples.
Her Skill is her passion: art. She studied with renowned Westport artist Roe Halper twice a week since November. Molly’s work was included in an exhibition of students’ work at Roe’s home in April.
The Expedition was an overnight trip that participants do in small groups after 3 training sessions. It includes orienteering, hiking 15 miles in 24 hours, and camping outdoors without a tent. Molly completed that challenge in late April.
The Award process provides opportunities to give back to the local community; empowers participants, and builds leadership, teamwork, confidence and self-esteem in young people.
Molly’s ceremony is set for tomorrow (Wednesday, May 6) at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. No, the award will not be presented by the Duke of Edinburgh — aka Prince Philip.
It will be given instead by his son, Prince Edward.
(For more information on the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award — including how to participate — click here.)