On January 23rd, King George PE teacher Hanif Karmali received a letter inviting him to receive the prestigious Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for his participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award program. Karmali refused to take credit alone for this achievement, sharing the honour with his colleagues, Janie Groombridge and Dan O'Gorman.
Principal Roberto Moro says Karmali has been instrumental in helping the school increase its participation in the program and says he's been critical for fostering such a powerful program for King George students.
Karmali says he got involved with the program in 2007 when a member of the UBC ropes course suggested the school lead their students through the Duke of Edinburgh Award program because many students were already involved in so many of the program's criteria. It made sense to Karmali who was eager to formalize the process and celebrate what King George students were already doing.
Shortly after kicking off the program, a King George student was awarded its first Bronze level award in 2008.
In 2009 the school recognized 29 students who received the Silver award at a ceremony where King George students represented the largest single organization in the room. In 2010, the school saw its first Gold awarded, awarded by British Prince Phillip. A year later seven more students were given the award by the Lieutenant Governor of Canada.
During this year's Diamond Jubilee Medal Ceremony, King George was congratulated personally in the Lieutenant Governor of BC's speech for having given out 300 awards. This year, school staff say they expect to hand out 80 medals this year at the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels combined.