Party time for school leavers
SCHOOL is out for our local Grade 12 students and to celebrate the end of their final exams and 13 years of school life, they will join with more than 2500 other students from across the State for five days of fun at Schoolies.
Grade 12 students from Proserpine State High School and Whitsunday Christian College finished their last exam yesterday morning which means the fun now starts.
Last night, the State High School students had their formal at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre and the Whitsunday Christian College Students will be frocking up tonight.
Thirteen students from Whitsunday Christian College and 15 from the State School finished grade 12 this year. Today also marks the day more than 2500 students will converge on Airlie Beach for the annual "Schoolies’ celebration".
The event has been reduced from a seven-day event to just five days which provides supervised, alcohol free activities for registered school leavers starting today.
Even though the event has been shortened, many of the students are still expected to stay for seven days.
Whitsunday schoolies event manager Nicole Graham said the event had come along way since its first year which had just a "few hundred local kids".
She said now the event was well organised and focused on making sure the students didn’t get bored.
"The whole ethos of schoolies is about providing safe events," she said. This year there will be plenty of activities to keep the leavers entertained in a fun and safe environment.
The 80-strong Red Frog brigade will also be out in force to help and support schoolies in town.
Whitsunday police officer in charge Senior Sergeant Steve O’Connell said extra police would be on schoolies patrols for the whole seven days, despite Schoolies being officially only five days.
"There will be a very strong police presence throughout the entire seven days," he said.
Sgt O’Connell said police would be focusing on deterring bad behaviour and encouraging drug and alcohol free events as well as focusing on public drinking and disorderly and inappropriate behaviour.
Police will be cracking down on minors who try to enter licensed premises, drink driving and the irresponsible supply of alcohol to people under 18, which comes with hefty fines up to $6000.
With schoolies set to land in the Whitsundays today, members of the community can easily identify a registered schoolie by their registered ID they wear around their necks.
This ID is an attempt to turf out pre-schoolies and toolies and keep the event, which is based near the lagoon, a schoolies-only event.