Achieving the gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has been the most rewarding experience of Lauriane Canadas’ life.
The 21-year-old from Littlehampton was one of 22 young people from West Sussex to be presented with her award at St James’s Palace.
Lauriane completed her award at St Philip Howard Catholic School in Barnham.
She said: “DofE has been the most rewarding experience of my life so far. With the expedition came laughs and challenges.
“While volunteering with Girlguiding, I developed skills in leadership and communication, taking the opportunity to organise and run my own sessions.
“My physical challenge was to achieve my brown belt in karate, something which required a lot of commitment and determination.
“I’ve had such a fantastic experience completing all levels of DofE and I would love for every young person to have the same opportunity.
“DofE has made me a more rounded, confident person and is already serving me on the work placement I am currently doing as part of my mathematics degree.
“It is great knowing that something so enjoyable has equipped me with the skills that most lines of work utilise.”
The DofE programme is designed to take young people through a challenging and rewarding programme of personal development with three levels.
Stephen Hillier, West Sussx County Council cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Hearing about experiences like Lauriane’s is always really inspirational.
“I have heard countless stories of how the DofE Awards have brought out the best in our county’s young people and I would encourage everyone to take part.”
Students from Slindon College and Worthing College were also among those to receive their gold awards from celebrity presenter and broadcaster Ortis Deley.
The Earl of Wessex attended the ceremony and congratulated the group on their successes. The students were given the opportunity to talk to Prince Edward about their experiences over 12 to 18 months of hard work and dedication.
There are 58 centres delivering DofE in West Sussex, supported by the county council. To achieve gold, young people must volunteer, learn a skill, get fit, take part in a week-long residential, and plan and undertake an expedition.