More than 7000 students will graduate tomorrow from Catholic schools within the Brisbane Archdiocese, sparking emotional scenes across the region.
Final Masses will be held at many schools tomorrow as 3860 Year 12 students finish at Brisbane Catholic Education schools while another 3251 students will graduate from schools operated by religious institutions such as Edmund Rice Education Australia.
Principals across the Archdiocese have praised the Class of 2016 for their leadership and their preparation for life beyond school.
For many Year 12s, that first step into the next stage comes with the annual Schoolies festival, which attracts thousands of students to holiday points such as the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
While that causes some concerns for parents, leading Brisbane adolescent expert Michael Knight says that many schoolies are often bored rather than creating mischief in the tightly-supervised festival areas.
And Mr Knight says that boredom has driven a push towards a more authentic end-of-school celebration in which parents play a key role.
“Some of the people who go to Schoolies are really bored after a while,” Mr Knight said.
“That’s something that many of the Red Frogs say as they walk around offering a helping hand. The schoolies go down there thinking it is going to be fantastic – and they do have fun – but it’s really much of the same for the week and some do get bored.”
Mr Knight, who is the founder of Peer Power, has delivered seminars to more than 350,000 students during a 32-year career in social work. He holds sessions in schools across the state, speaking with students on leadership, professional and character development.
The father-of-three says generations of parents have accepted Schoolies as a rite of passage for school leavers but it was important for them to offer their children a lifeline to skip it for a holiday or leave the event early.
“Sometimes we just live in fear and hope,” Mr Knight said.
“One of the best criticisms of the bad is the practice of the better.
“You can still send the teenagers off and hope for the best, but give them a lifeline and say: ‘How about we do something more meaningful afterwards? And, if it is not what you thought it was going to be, call and I will come and get you’. ‘
For more information:
- Check out the Queensland Government website https://www.schoolies.qld.gov.au/ for detailed information that parents should know.
- Check out darta.net.au. The website is the brainchild of Australian drug and alcohol research guru Paul Dillon. He has released fact sheets for schoolies and parents so they can talk about the risks and what to do if something goes wrong.