FORMALS: Countdown to the greatest event of the year
AROUND Gympie high schools, a single topics is on everyone's lips.
As excitement builds and wallets lighten, the countdown is on to Year 12 students' formals celebrations.
The night is a mark of the students' incursion into adulthood, to literally cast off uniformity and dazzle the crowd.
With the week of formals set to kick off in just over a week's time, the Gympie Times dropped in on students at Gympie State High School, St Patrick's College and James Nash State High School.
Rachel Phelan said the formal had been on students' minds for up to a year.
"It's what most people have been talking about for the last month or so, and it's been in conversation for the last year or so,” she said.
"I think it really represents the end of an era.”
Genieva Livingstone said the formal gave the students a chance to show off among their peers.
"It's just a chance to celebrate all the effort we've put in for the last 12 years,” she said.
"We're finally finished with this phase and we get to celebrate moving on.”
Anna Murley believes most students will remember the evening as one of the last times the cohort was together.
"I think it's a pretty big deal because it's something you always look forward to,” she said.
"It's the last big thing with our grade before we all go off.”
Jamie-Lee Griffiths hasn't been feeling the pressure, but acknowledged the milestone was significant.
"Even though in the scheme of things it's not the biggest deal, it's pretty cool,” she said.
"It's the end of the start of our lives, I guess.”
Luke Devey said he was "pretty keen” for the moment he pulls up at the Pavilion in a '69 Mustang with his date.
"Just rocking up in a bangin' suit, a dank car,” he said.
He admitted his suit is "nothing special”, other than being a suit, and is letting his partner organise most of the details.
"It's mainly her thing,” he said.
"I don't know much about it, but I just know we're going to look fly as.”
Others like Kieren Gibson are looking forward to the night's later shenanigans.
"Formal's good and all, to be able to rock up and show yourself off that you're finished, but the after party is where it's at,” he said.
Kirra Sillitoe is putting together "big plans” for James Nash students' after-party.
"I think we'll keep it on the DL,” she said when asked if she could share any details.
For some, the impending date is almost a source of anxiety as last-minute preparations are made.
Students and parents are taking hits to the hip pocket in the quest for a perfect evening.
Chloe Maynard said she was able to get away with a dress for $200, but it was her accessories that blew the bank.
"I did spend $200 on my earrings, which makes no sense,” she said.