SCHOOL LEAVERS CELEBRATE
WITH the official Schoolies Week celebrations wrapping up today, many young school leavers will be looking back on a wonderful week in the Whitsundays.
There have been plenty of thrills and a few spills, but most will agree the 2015 event went off without a hitch.
Former Proserpine State High School student Kellie Van Bergen said on Saturday she had been really looking forward to “the atmosphere at night”.
And with the Red Frogs Dance Party, the Magnums Hotel Beach Party and many more, the nights sure were alive.
Having made the decision to party locally, PSHS graduate Kyra Hadley said her parents felt a lot better knowing she and her friends were close by.
“And if anything does go wrong, they can come help us,” Ms Van Bergen added.
Speaking on Saturday morning, Ms Van Bergen had a short but reassuring message for her parents.
“I am responsible,” she said.
One of the groups ensuring the kids’ safety, Red Frogs, passed a local milestone this year, celebrating a decade of support from a number of local businesses.
Red Frogs founder Andy Gourley visited Airlie Beach on Tuesday, recognising the community’s dedication to helping the schoolies.
“Because for us, we walk people home, fill up vomit bags, clean up rooms and make pancakes really well, but we know we can’t do it by ourselves,” Mr Gourley said.
“It needs to be a whole community response, so we just really wanted to honour these community businesses and leaders.”
Mr Gourley made special mention of the Whitsunday Sailing Club, saying it was “basically Red Frogs HQ” for the region.
“It’s the centrepoint for the froggies in action,” he said.
“So instead of launching them out to sea, they’re launching them into the hotels.”
With about 130 local volunteers, Mr Gourley said the lo- cal topography had earned the Whitsunday Red Frogs the title of “champions of walk homes”.
“The walk homes they do are like summits, and we call it the Red Frogs Biggest Loser because they get huge calves,” Mr Gourley laughed.
LET LOOSE: Local schoolies Jesse Gunders, Rhylee Goodwin, Kellie Van Bergen and Kyra Hadley outside Schoolies Central ready for the fun to begin on Saturday afternoon. INSET: Andy Gourley thanks Whitsunday Sailing Club’s Troy Jones (left) and Airlie Beach Hotel’s Pascal Schaffer for the businesses’ 10-year support of Red Frogs.