CALGARY — The halls of Simon Fraser Junior High School in Calgary were uncharacteristically busy Saturday, but the 350 students there had no qualms about being in attendance because of a princely visit.
Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, the Queen’s youngest son and seventh in line to the throne, met privately with many of the students who are actively involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and later addressed an assembly of teachers, school board officials, politicians and students.
“I went to school much like yours. I didn’t find the academics particularly easy. I didn’t enjoy school because of sitting in the classroom and studying,” said the 44-year-old prince.
“It was all the other things that school offered — that was the motivation for me.”
The Calgary students, from 12 schools, were all part of leadership programs.
Prince Edward encouraged them to consider working toward a Duke of Edinburgh Award in the future.
“In a nutshell the award is about helping you to equip yourself for whatever life throws at you. The award is about all sorts of challenges — things you would never have dreamt to do — doing it with people you may never have worked with before,” said Prince Edward.
The awards, started by the prince’s father in the 1950s, are designed to stimulate and encourage self-reliance and discipline, perseverance and determination, initiative and creativity, community responsibility, and fitness of body and mind.