Celebrating the end of your schooling life in a week of wild celebrations on Queensland’s glitter strip – Surfers Paradise – is hardly anything out of the ordinary. Being inspired to make a positive difference in the lives of children and young people while celebrating this milestone, that’s different.
For Woodridge State High School graduate, Dougie Orcher, that’s precisely what happened after going on SU-Schoolies last year – and that’s thanks to you.
SU-Schoolies has long been known as a positive alternative to mainstream schoolies celebrations. But it’s more than just a PG-friendly party. The experience equips many young people with a sense of purpose.
For Dougie, the experience inspired him to pursue a career in youth work and become more involved in his church as a youth leader.
“Before SU-Schoolies I was just on and off to church every Friday, but never on Sundays. After SU-Schoolies I now go to youth every Friday and church every Sunday because I want to,” he says.
“I had never thought of being a youth leader before but I love it. It has made me want to become a youth worker or a chaplain.”
More than 380 students from across Queensland celebrated with Dougie at SU-Schoolies last year.
One of them was Mabel Park State High graduate, Brittany Ng Lam, who initially had reservations about attending schoolies on the Gold Coast, until she learned of SU-Schoolies.
“The SU-Schoolies was awesome. You are in an environment where there are so many people who are like-minded. They hold the same morals and values as you and you even find all the same things fun,” she says.
“You have this connection that you are there for a bigger reason.”
Finishing school is an exciting time to celebrate the end of many years of schooling but for those who attend SU-Schoolies it can be so much more.
Chappy Lisa ‘Hendo’ Henderson of Mabel Park SHS played a key role in helping make Dougie and Brittany’s SU-Schoolies experience happen.
“I think every student who makes it through high school with all of the added pressures that today’s world puts on them should have a week of celebration and fun. I think doing that in a safe space is very important,” Hendo says.
“For some reason it seems to be a right of passage to lose your virginity or drink too much on a schoolies trip. I want them to know that you don’t need to do that to be recognised or to be an adult or to have a fun time.
“I look at where they are now — doing great things in their communities and their church.
It is testament to the impact that SU-Schoolies can make on a young person’s life.”
SU-Schoolies would not be possible without your support. Help ensure that our young people continue to have a positive alternative to celebrating life after school.