Ciara Vogler Attends SPIRE for a Different Kind of Medal: The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award

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SPIRE Institute and Academy (IA) recently hosted international student Ciara Vogler to help her achieve her dream of finishing her requirements for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award.

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The Duke Edinburgh International Award is a great stepping stone in furthering your career or education. The program keeps you motivated and has many positive impacts. It shows employers and universities that you are dedicated and committed to succeed.

SPIRE Institute and Academy (IA) recently hosted international student Ciara Vogler to help her achieve her dream of finishing her requirements for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award.

Vogler, an eleventh grader currently enrolled in a boarding school in the United Kingdom, chose SPIRE as the perfect location to fulfill her residential Duke of Edinburgh requirement and catch up on her swimming at a world-class athletic academy. “I missed swimming while being quarantined,” Ciara explains, “and the residential requirement involves staying somewhere away from your peer group. You stay somewhere new for at least two weeks and interact with people from different backgrounds to build confidence and independence. I loved being at SPIRE boarding school and being able to swim every day was a great bonus!”

Ciara’s time at SPIRE was incredibly busy. “I was still enrolled in school, so I had to do online school the entire time I was there,” she said. “Then, in the afternoons, I would head to the pool for my swim training.” Despite her busy schedule, Ciara found herself making friends. “Everyone is so supportive.”

Thad Schultz, Director of Aquatics at SPIRE, recalls his time with Ciara. “Ciara is a very talented and smart young lady. She listens very well and works to make changes. She made friends with all of our swimmers here quickly and we hope to see her back with us soon. She wasn’t with us long enough to do a complete training cycle with her, but we have our fingers crossed that she returns in the fall!”

Ciara is one of only 15 of her boarding school classmates that has seen the entire process through, hoping to have the gold award by early to mid-June. Ciara explains that many participants drop out of the program after the bronze and silver awards, and seeing it through to completion is an achievement.

“SPIRE helped me achieve my goals,” Ciara said. “I could rave about SPIRE, the staff, the students and the facilities forever. I really loved the experience and hope to go back.”

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a special recognition of a young individual’s goal setting abilities and self-improvement through persistence and achievement. Past award recipients include Kate Middleton.

The awards span three levels: bronze, silver and gold. Individual award sections require completion of activities in the areas of public service, skills development, physical recreation, a journey and, for gold participants, completion of residential projects. The awards are open to anyone between the ages of 14 and 25.

“The Duke Edinburgh International Award is a great stepping stone in furthering your career or education,” Ciara explains. “The program keeps you motivated and has many positive impacts. It shows employers and universities that you are dedicated and committed to succeed.”

After Ciara finishes her last requirement, she will be receiving the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award at Buckingham Palace, where she will meet a member of the Royal Family. As of 2021, the holder of the Duke of Edinburgh title is Prince Charles, who inherited the title on 9 April 2021 upon the death of his father Prince Phillip.

Ciara loved her time at SPIRE. “I encourage any international student to go for it. Don’t even hesitate,” she said. “I really hope to return to SPIRE soon.”

About SPIRE
SPIRE Institute & Academy is a comprehensive academic, athletic, personal skills and career development experience located within a world class event and wellness complex. Constructed on nearly 500 acres with more than 750,000 sq. ft. under roof, SPIRE (http://www.spireinstitute.org) encompasses four divisions: SPIRE Academy, an accredited college preparatory international boarding school and multi-sport/specialty training and development academy for 9-12 graders and a post grad program; SPIRE Institute, the research and development arm studying performance improvement across multiple disciplines; SPIRE Events, a facility and team that hosts local, national and international tournaments and events with the NCAA, the Big East, Big Ten and Atlantic 10 conferences, Olympic trials and world championship qualifiers; and SPIRE Fit, a community membership-based fitness, swim and health center open to the public. Sports currently featured on campus include swimming, track and field, basketball, esports, drone racing, volleyball and soccer.

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