School’s out: celebrations kick-off on the coast

November 17, 2013 – 12:01AM

Cameron Atfield

Brisbane Times and Sun-Herald journalist

School leavers Hannah Nagel,18, Olivia Schofield,18 and Darcy Salmon,18 attend the first day of Schoolies 2013 on the Gold Coast.

School leavers Hannah Nagel,18, Olivia Schofield,18 and Darcy Salmon,18 attend the first day of Schoolies 2013 on the Gold Coast. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

It’s the annual rite of passage that school-leavers live for and parents dread.

The first wave of schoolies week has kicked off on the Gold Coast, with thousands already packing Surfers Paradise to bookend their 12 years of school captivity.

And they couldn’t be more pumped.

The first day of Schoolies 2013 on the Gold Coast.

The first day of Schoolies 2013 on the Gold Coast. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Hannah Nagel, Olivia Schofield and Darcy Salmon, all 18, finished their time at Grace Lutheran College on the Redcliffe peninsula last week.

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The young women, all 18, have been saving for about a year for the week of their lives.

“I’m loving it – it’s going to be great,” Ms Schofield said shortly after they’d booked into their hotel.

Police stand near school leavers attending the first day of Schoolies 2013 on the Gold Coast.

Police stand near school leavers attending the first day of Schoolies 2013 on the Gold Coast. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Ms Schofield said her expectations of schoolies week were pretty simple.

“A lot of people and a lot of fun – and hopefully a lot of memories,” she said.

While their parents might have some concerns about schoolies week – “my mum wasn’t that happy,” Ms Salmon said – all three were excited about the days ahead.

Though there was always one eye looking a little further ahead.

“(After this), I’ll go be an old boring adult, I guess,” Ms Nagel said.

“But I am going on to to veterinary science at uni.”

The young women were among about 11,000 who had poured in to Surfers Paradise by Saturday afternoon, with that number expected to swell considerably.

A police spokeswoman said on Saturday afternoon the first full day of schoolies week had been relatively uneventful, save for a group who got stuck in the lift “for just a few minutes”.

“We’re just trying to maintain the safe flow of people getting their wrist bands on at the main check-in area, where it’s getting a bit congested,” she said.

“But from all accounts, everybody’s been pretty well behaved.”

Andy Gourley, director of schoolies support organisation Red Frogs Australia, said they had about 800 volunteers on the ground on Saturday.

“It’s been a really good day so far,” Mr Gourley said on Saturday afternoon.

“It was pretty slow traffic coming in (to the Gold Coast) because of all the roadworks, so that actually spaced out the people getting to the hotels, which made it a bit easier.”

Mr Gourley said the first day of schoolies week pointed to a more relaxed vibe than in previous years.

“It’s a little bit more chilled than previous years to start with, though they’re just getting into it now,” he said.

“They’re starting to make a little bit of noise off the balconies now.

“…There were a lot of concerned parents, of course, and we gave them a lot of cards with our number so they can call us if they get a bit concerned during the week, so it was good touching base with a lot of parents as well.”

Schoolies and their parents can contact the Red Frogs on 1300 557 123 for help or advice. The line is staffed 24 hours a day during schoolies week .

 

The Brisbane Times

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