Gympie students heading overseas to help impoverished people are Ellee Mayfield, Jeremy Paikew, Melissa McCombe, Karl Stewart, Jessica Leeson, Clare Quinn, Raechel Mansfield, Chad Ward, Gemma Meredith, Madeline Price and Peter Tarlington.
Gympie students heading overseas to help impoverished people are Ellee Mayfield, Jeremy Paikew, Melissa McCombe, Karl Stewart, Jessica Leeson, Clare Quinn, Raechel Mansfield, Chad Ward, Gemma Meredith, Madeline Price and Peter Tarlington. Craig Warhurst

Students on mission ditch Schoolies

WHILE most year 12 graduates gear up to party at Schoolies Week on the Gold and Sunshine coasts as an end of year rite of passage, 11 dedicated Gympie students will head to Cambodia and Thailand to work with Heartland International Mission.

Madeline Price, Melissa McCombe, Jessica Leeson, Chad Ward, Karl Stewart, Clare Quinn, Gemma Meredith, Raechel Mansfield, Jeremy Paikew and Ellie Mayfield from Gympie State High School and Peter Tarlington from James Nash State High School will spend two weeks helping impoverished people in war torn villages in the Alternative to Schoolies project.

Gympie State High School captain and group spokesperson Madeline Price said “it was a once in a lifetime experience” for the group.

“I find it hard to accept that many students of my age can only talk about Schoolies Week. So my friends and I have come up with the Alternative to Schoolies 2010 Project, a safe, drug and alcohol free alternative to the traditional Schoolies in 2010,” Madeline said.

She said the school leavers would help out by building playgrounds, teaching English, distributing food and working with Destiny Rescue, a group that helps rescue child prostitutes.

The students have worked hard fundraising during the year to help cover the cost of the two-week trip. They have raised about $10,000 with a variety of community events including art auctions, movie nights and raffles and subsidised their travel costs by one third.

But the trip won't be all hard work. The group has time set aside to see a few of the sights. “We get to go elephant riding, on a cruise and do a bit of shopping,” Madeline said.

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