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WAB Students Receive International Youth Awards

November, 2011
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Western Academy of Beijing (WAB) High School students, Christina Arbenz and Natasha Chang, received the very prestigious GOLD Level International Youth Awards (IYA) at a ceremony at the British Embassy on September 29. 

The International Youth Award is a self-development program available for 14 to 25 year olds.  Launched in the UK in 1956 as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the program has now spread to 126 countries with over 6 million young people worldwide having taken up the challenge.

The Program is based around three levels, each successive one requiring a greater degree of commitment: BRONZE is for those over 14, with a minimum period of participation of 6 months; SILVER is for those over 15, with a minimum period of participation of 12 months; and GOLD is for those over 16, with a minimum period of participation of 18 months. The Awards are about individual challenges, not about reaching specific standards set by someone else. Young people design their own Award Program, set their own goals, and record their own progress.

WAB students Christina and Natasha successfully completed all requirements for the highest award through their exemplary personal achievements to become the first Beijing recipients of the Gold Level Award.  “This award gave me a confidence that I would not have gotten elsewhere,” says Natasha of the process. “When I started the bronze award, I was skeptical on how this would help me. Many people told me that it was just a waste of time, but I stuck to it because it was great fun and, on every adventure and skill class, I learnt new things about myself.  And now, at the end of the gold award, looking back, I realize that this experience showed me that I can achieve anything that I set my mind too, and that nothing is impossible.”


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