News Release

Schoolies With a Difference for 230 Year 12 Graduates

Students choose fun, fellowship and food over alcohol and drugs

The Australian Schoolies week, typically held after the end of year twelve exams, is renowned for alcohol-fuelled parties, drugs and other activities not associated with Gospel standards.

However, in the last week of November, a large group of Queensland youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered on the Sunshine Coast from all over the south east of the state, to celebrate the end of their schooling with good, clean fun.

The emphasis for the celebration was to give the youth a memorable time while still living the standards of the Church.  Some of the activities that were offered were three dances, knee boarding, jumping on inflatables, canoeing, swimming, Barramundi fishing, water skiing and a water park.

Bree-Ellen, one of the students, said that she had met so many new people at the event and that she really had a great time doing all of the organised activities. “There were so many opportunities to have good wholesome fun”, she said.

“I have a lot of friends who were at schoolies on the Gold Coast,” she continued, “and they didn’t seem to be having as good of a time. We could just be ourselves around everyone and we had so much in common, it was a great atmosphere.”

Aleesha, another of the year twelve students said, “I had a ball. I’ve been to the beach, swimming, riding on my knees on a board behind a boat, canoeing and jumping high on huge inflatable platforms.  It was a crazy fun week.”

Kylie, another graduate, said, “From the very first day, I had a ball. It was a really different environment from Surfers Paradise, where everyone is getting drunk.  I felt safe, where people had the same standards as I do.”

Not everyone who attended was a Mormon.  Manu, another year twelve graduate, said that the graduation celebration was her first major Church activity and that it had been really good celebrating with like-minded people.  “After being here this week, I’ve decided to be baptised”, she said, “and I’m really looking forward to joining this Church.”

Young members of the Church are taught in their ‘For the Strength of Youth’ booklet, that they “are beloved sons and daughters of God” and that He is mindful of them. “You have come to earth at a time of great opportunities and great challenges.  The standards in this booklet will help you with the important choices you are making, and will yet make in the future.” 

The booklet also provides young people with advice concerning education, friends, family, gratitude, dating, physical and emotional help, sexual purity, service, self-reliance, honesty, integrity and other subjects. 

Sam Gourley, the committee chairman of the event, who is from the Buderim ward of the Sunshine Coast Australia Stake said, “All these kids have made a commitment in their lives to live a certain standard.

“The reason this schoolie situation was different from others is that everyone there had the same standards and values. So they could come and celebrate without having to worry about peer pressure or needing to lower their standards for any reason.”

“When you see them at a dance or party like this one, really enjoying themselves, you know it’s been a success.”

See a short video about the Church and its beliefs.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.