Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Kyabram students enjoy alternative schoolies trip

A group of Kyabram students has visited Samoa on an alternative schoolies vacation.

December 18, 2013 4:48am

Miranda Mackenzie and Hannah Schroder enjoy a swim with the turtles.


An alternative schoolies trip has provided a group of students with a host of great memories as they move into the next phase of their lives.

A group of 18 people from across Victoria, including several from Kyabram, travelled to Samoa as part of the visit Judi and Rob Hunter organise and run through The Camping Program, which is affiliated with The Community Church of Kyabram.

This schoolies alternative has been run for the past six years with the co-operation of the Kyabram P-12 College.

Kyabram P-12 College’s female school captain Fern Frizzell was one of those to make the trip. Other group members included Bryce McDonald, Vanessa Coombs, Miranda Mackenzie, Simon Hunter and Lance Wiltshire.

I would repeat Year 12 all over again, just so that I could relive the experiences of schoolies in Samoa.

Sounds like a rash statement? It is. But, it would be worth it.

There was nothing like waking up to a tropical paradise everyday, buffet breakfast overlooking the swimming pool and luscious green landscape beyond.

That was just the view from our base accommodation.

We spent two nights on the island of Savaii, where we slept in beach fales, overlooking the ocean.

Nothing is more soothing than the sound of crashing waves on the sand to help get a girl to sleep.

Among the tranquillity came the many adventures — exploring coral reefs, delving into caves, jumping into crystal clear waters, swimming with turtles, living with the locals for a night.

The best part of the journey was the company. A group of 18 people from across Victoria came together to celebrate the end of Year 12.

These people you hardly knew at first ended up becoming your best buds.

There is an assumption that an alternative schoolies won’t pack as much fun as other real schoolies.

But, it’s all lies.

Samoans know how to sing and dance, so you can’t help but groove along.

You can stuff your face with the cultural delicacies, barter with the shop keepers in the flea market, ride in the back of a ute down the main street and mostly interact with the locals.

Trying a different culture, a different language, made for a unique experience.

Before I left I was asked, ‘‘Why do you want to do something for someone else when it came to celebrating your Year 12?’’

In all retrospect, if it wasn’t for that element, it wouldn’t have been the same.

When we went to the Samoan Victims Support and a baby shelter, my heart melted.

There’s nothing more encouraging than when a girl who has experienced hardships can freely sing with more joy than most of us can on a Carols by Candlelight evening.

I will never forget their smiles. I will never forget the girl who gently took me by the hand and asked me to sit with her.

These little things seem silly in writing, but when you experience them, it has an incredible impact on you.

Samoa was just amazing.

To all future Year 12s — you would be crazy not to go.

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