Apr 13 2012 by Jennifer Buchanan, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
IT STARTED out as a school class.
But these dedicated pupils at Doon Academy have taken their Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) training well beyond the four walls of their classroom.
For the hardworking group have been giving up their free time to not only help people in their community, but in the poorest parts of the world.
Beauty treatments at Highcroft Sheltered Housing, producing a weekly school newsletter, after school clubs in Patna , football classes for kids in Bellsbank and volunteering at Craigengillan stables are part of a normal week for the pupils now.
And even the enterprise section of their DofE award has been developed to benefit people in need. For one of the girls, Katie Graham, has been making up dental care packs to sell and raise cash for people in Romania.
And Rachel Boyce has been doing her bit to encourage others in the school to get involved. For the S3 girl stood up in front of the entire first year class and asked the pupils to fill Smarties tubes with any spare twenty pence pieces to donate to the Romanian fund.
Vice-principle of supported learning at Doon Academy, Mark Kerr, just started the DofE scheme at the school this year.
And he says he couldn’t be more proud of what the pupils have already achieved.
He explained: “We have 21 pupils taking part over S3, S4 and S5, and it’s great to see them coming out of their shells and really taking control of their ventures.
“One of the main points in DofE is autonomy, they’re supported by us but they have to come up with ideas and organise it themselves.
“At the start they’d come to me and ask what they should do, and I’d just say, ‘you tell me what you think you should do’.
“You could see the confusion on their faces because normally in classes they are always just told what to do.
“But they’ve really latched on to it and the ones who maybe don’t traditionally flourish in classroom situations are doing really well.
“It’s skills they can use for the rest of their lives and it’s great how they’ve embraced it.”