JETSET: Olivia Fitzgerald, Zara Dodd (back) with  Andrew Griffin and Lydia Paterson heading to Cambodia .
JETSET: Olivia Fitzgerald, Zara Dodd (back) with Andrew Griffin and Lydia Paterson heading to Cambodia . Jacob Carson

Gympie schoolies head overseas to help those in need

NOT too keen on celebrating the end of their schooling lives on an overcrowded Gold Coast beach, 24 high school graduates from across the country are ditching the glitter strip and choosing to spend their time on a worthier cause

A number of Gympie teens will be among the crowd heading overseas, off to Cambodia to volunteer as assistant teachers at a grassroots community school.

"I really wanted to do something different, instead of just going to the coast and getting wasted,” says Gympie State High School alumni Andrew Griffin.

"This is a chance to do something good, I'm really excited.”

Heading off for his flight at midnight tonight, Andrew will be joined by four other Gympie school leavers - Zara Dodd, Lydia Paterson, Candice Baldwin and Olivia Fitzgerald.

"The chance to come and help those who are less fortunate was one of the main reasons I wanted to do it,” Ms Fitzgerald says.

"It was also an opportunity to head to another country so I jumped at the chance.”

The group will be teaching English and mathematics while in Cambodia, while also getting the chance to experience the sights and sounds of a very different country.

Organised by the yLead association, CEO Matt Kershaw said it was important to give young school leavers the power to make their own decisions about what they want to do.

"Schoolies has become a rite of passage for young Australians,” he says.

"We challenge the booze and drug-fuelled culture of traditional celebrations by offering fun and meaningful alternatives.”

Gympie Times


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