Interview with Award Holder – Alexi Ginis
One last story from our June Award Story competition entries. This one is from Alexi Ginis, who is 18, lives in Castlemaine and has just finished his Gold Award last year. Alexi is also a Young Award Leader (YAL). YALS are passionate and motivated Duke of Ed role models who positively contribute to the success of the program within their school or organisation.
How did you get involved with The Duke of Ed Award?
I found out about the Award from my Award Leader whilst out on school camp. My parents were also aware of the Award and encouraged me to participate. I used the Award online resources and information from fellow Award Holders to help me get started.
Why did you decide to do The Duke of Ed?
Primarily I wanted to be involved in the Award to be recognised for things I was already doing, but I also really like to be involved in leadership and self-development programs, so the Award fit me well. I wanted to have the challenge of maintaining my involvement and being a part of varied activities, as well as getting to know new people and being recognised for my achievements.
What did /does your Duke of Ed Award involve? What are/were you doing?
For my Skills section, I logged my French classes at school. I have learnt a lot about the French language and culture throughout my Award journey and am now confident speaking French with most people and completing VCE French currently with good marks so far, probably thanks to the effort I put in to maintain it for The Duke of Ed!
For my Voluntary Service Section, I am a part of the school backstage and theatre technicians club. We run audio and lighting for many school and broader community events throughout Bendigo. Over the course of the Award, I have volunteered to run approximately 6 productions and major events for the community over the past few years, as an audio front of house operator, lighting director or stagehand, all unpaid and on a volunteer basis.
For my Physical Recreation Section, I included my weekly swimming squad training sessions as well as any competitions. In the summer I swam 4-5 times a week, and in winter 1-2 times per week. My coach was supportive of the Award and encouraged me to include swimming as part of it. I think doing the Award has really helped me maintain motivation to keep fit and be part of a sports club which is not something I would normally do.
For my Adventurous Journey, I did a range of activities, including prearranged hikes through my school and with my family/friends. These were in a range of locations such as around Bendigo, Falls Creek, The Great Ocean Road and even overseas. Most notably I was part of a World Challenge expedition to Thailand and Cambodia in June/July 2016, where we hiked for five days in the Thai mountains. This hike was incredibly hard due to the climate and harsh location, but very memorable and a great learning experience.
Finally, for my Gold Residential Project, I was a student leader/mentor to a group of Year 8 students at my school whilst they completed their Year Eight Hike school camp. I was there as a bit of a morale booster and pastoral care assistant to the students to ensure they had the best experience possible. This was undertaken on a volunteer basis within the school term and I really enjoyed getting away from school for a bit and helping these younger students experience something I really love to do and heling them feel a sense of accomplishment at the end.
What were the most memorable parts of your Award experience?
For me, the most memorable part of my award experience was doing the Adventurous Journey Section of the Award, and the residential project. I think that getting outside, out of your comfort zone and doing something with other people is incredibly important in this somewhat artificial and digital society we live in today. I loved completing a hike with fellow students or friends and that feeling of satisfaction was fantastic. I also loved receiving my three Awards at the school assembly and being recognised for my achievements which I think is important for people who complete the award.
What has been the biggest challenge in your life, either before starting the Award or during?
I think that throughout my life I have often found it difficult to make friends and be a part of big social groups. This has been tough for me throughout high school, but I think doing the Award has introduced me to many new people, and now that I’ve finished my Gold Award and have taken on more of a leadership role in The Duke of Ed at my school, I’m meeting a lot of other like-minded students and helping them has definitely helped me with my social and interpersonal relationship building skills.
Has the Award helped you overcome any challenges you have faced?
I think the problem solving and leadership skills I’ve gained from being involved in the Award Program has really helped me as a person when I need to deal with issues. Throughout the process I’ve worked on my teamwork, leadership and organisation skills throughout a variety of activities and I think the motivation you get from being part of a group of people working towards the Award is helpful. I used these newfound leadership and communication skills to land me a few leadership positions at school, as well as working on some major projects around the school with staff to help other students. I think the Award really gave me a leg up in learning to take opportunities and be part of something big.
Would you say the Award has had an impact on your life and where you are today? If so, how?
I think after completing the award I have a better idea of my abilities and capabilities in terms of leadership, teamwork and general good will. I know now that I am capable of many things I probably thought I couldn’t do and have worked towards some great goals throughout my Award experience. I think that the biggest part of my journey as a Gold Awardee is helping others reach their potential through the program which is why I believe so strongly in it and want to be a part of it into the future.
What will you take/have you taken away from your Award experience?
I have taken away new skills and a better understanding of myself and the world around me. I think that the experiences I have had through the Award process have helped me be a more confident and prepared person for everyday life. The leadership opportunities I have had through being the Duke of Ed Captain at my school in 2019, as well as one of the first people to participate in the YALS Program in 2019 have been invaluable for my personal development. They’ve helped me take advantage of many opportunities I would not have previously had which I think has been the best part of my Award experience and something I will treasure forever.
Read Other Stories From The Competition
Liv's Award Story
Isabelle's Award Story
Udeni Undugodage's Award Story