Shrewsbury student, Pariya (Por) Chanthasensack recently completed her Duke of Edinburgh International (DoEIA) Gold Award. Gaining a Gold Award takes a whole year of hard work, alongside an already busy schedule of challenging Year 12 and 13 school work - it really is a huge commitment! Which is why we are so proud of Por, who has shown such determination and dedication.
The DoEIA aims to help young people to become ready for the world, developing valuable skills such as leadership and teamwork, but also helping them learn about their capabilities. Por said that the challenges she faced helped her find her ‘own way to work’ - managing her time, staying organised and working under pressure.
Shrewsbury International School Bangkok Riverside is a certified test centre for the DoEIA scheme, with every Year 10 student participating in the Bronze level programme, and many going on to pursue Silver level in Year 11, and Gold in the Sixth Form.
For the Voluntary Service section of the award, Por supported Thai children to improve their English reading skills at the small Darun Bannalai Library. She loved this work so much she has continued to volunteer, even though she has completed the required hours for the Award itself.
“I enjoyed the responsibility of teaching, and seeing progress in my students. I am also keen to undertake charity work when I attend university next year; it is a great way to mesh with my new community.”
Already a keen photographer, it was an obvious choice to continue in this vein for the skills section of the award. As well as taking photographs she created inspired replicates of her work in art form, creating paintings and drawings.
“The class provided me with the opportunity to talk about techniques with other people outside the usual classroom setting. So I gained more insight into new techniques and how other artists work”. She enthused.
For the Residential element, Por worked for a local homestay location in Chiang Mai during school break, last July, where she helped by taking photos and creating online posters to promote the business to potential international customers.
“This experience allowed me to work with people in a more professional setting as well as how to push my ideas forward while keeping others needs and styles in mind.”
Por also had a very Adventurous Journey to Oze National Park in Japan, along with several other Shrewsbury students. The whole group agreed that it was a challenging but valuable experience. Por especially liked getting the opportunity to work in a team with people she didn't know very well.
Above: Por on expedition in Japan last July
Finally, for the Physical Recreation element, Por followed the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus for ballet. At the end of last year, she passed her exam and achieved the Advanced 2 Certificate. After all the hard work in the other skill, Por has found this element actually offers some much-needed relaxation.
“Ballet is one of the activities I see as a stress reliever, and it also ensures that I maintain my fitness while completing schoolwork.” She says, calmly.
And Por’s advice for future Award-takers?
“The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award is an awesome opportunity to learn how to be a self-starter and commit to something and follow it through. I really thrived on being able to manage my own time to create my own portfolio of work. It’s a challenging but positive experience, allowing you to learn different skills, but also something new about yourself.”