21 July 2009

Students issue schoolies "dare"

Cooranbong, New South Wales
Karen Zeuschner

The end of this school year will see 27 Avondale School Year 12 students travel to the Wat Preah Yesu Orphanage in Cambodia during November for a "schoolies experience with a difference." The group has also challenged every other Year 12 student in the Hunter Valley and Central Coast region to do something out of the ordinary, instead of taking part in the typical schoolies week activities of drinking and partying.

Blair Lemke, high school captain at Avondale School, says, "We're a Year 12 class creating a schoolies adventure of a lifetime. We want to have a good time, experience new things and, most of all, make a difference in our world."

The project, which is known as "Rokforce," is focused on helping others and the team will spend two weeks building a media room, running interactive children's programs and assisting around the orphanage.

Tanya Lawrence, one of the "Rokforce" coordinators and mother of a participant in the team, says, "As thousands of graduating Year 12 ‘schoolies' prepare to go to the Gold Coast in November, we're really proud of what our students are doing to create an adventure that will have a positive impact on their lives and the lives of others.

"We're also excited by their desire to inspire other ‘schoolies' to do something positive to help others."

School captain Emma Thomson says the "Rokforce" team, which also includes six teachers and parents, is fundraising to pay for their airfares and costs in return for the opportunity to serve.

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