Year 12 is over, now what?


Year 12 students doing overseas charity workWhile the end of year 12 is a cause for celebration, groups of students from Melbourne’s Catholic secondary schools are focused on alternative ways of marking this significant milestone.

For many years, students have travelled overseas to work with communities in developing nations to help build vital infrastructure or engage in education programs. De La Salle College, Malvern, was one of the first to introduce ‘coolies’ as an alternative to ‘schoolies’ celebrations. In addition to providing their labour, students need to raise funds throughout the year to pay for the cost of the projects as well as their own travel and accommodation. This year’s group of 20 will soon depart for Sri Lanka to support communities in and around Colombo.

Last year a group of 12 graduates from Presentation College Windsor travelled to India and to work in a refuge centre for women, an AIDS clinic and a drug rehabilitation centre. 'When we travel we see just how different things are compared to Australia. We return from India with a new perspective on life. Our time with the sisters, the students and the people of India have touched our hearts and we realise we're no longer the same person as when we left'.

Students from Christian Brothers College, St Kilda East, raised $35,000 from their Walk-a-thon earlier this year to support communities in India prior to their ‘Breakout India Immersion’ trip and students from Mazenod College, Mulgrave have been visiting China and Hong Kong for many years. Kilbreda College, Mentone, have raised funds for community projects in Timor Leste, particularly the remote area of Remexio. Staff and students have been visiting Timor Leste as an alternative to ‘schoolies’ for the last 13 years, experiencing the richness of the culture as well as the impact of poverty.

In addition to overseas experiences, many year 12 students will also be heading to Sydney next month for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival. This year’s festival will launch the Year of Youth, a year-long celebration which coincides with the 10th anniversary of World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008.