Students set for post-formal fun - minus the booze
EXAMS, graduation, formal ... Mystery Tour?
Year 12 students at Ipswich State High School are eagerly awaiting the school's annual Post Formal Mystery Tour, a program so successful it is now being implemented in more than a dozen south-east Queensland schools.
Long-term teacher Tanya McKenna first introduced the all-night entertainment tour 12 years ago after students complained there was no alternative to alcohol-fuelled graduation after-parties.
"We recognised there was a student need for safe alcohol-free entertainment," Ms McKenna said.
"In that first year, there were three parties planned and we targeted one party.
"All the students from that group decided to do the Mystery Tour instead of the party and each year after that more kids made the same choice.
"About five years in the balance tipped where more kids came on the mystery tour than went to parties.
"Now the idea has been picked up by a number of other schools."
The Mystery Tour follows Ipswich State High's year 12 formal which finishes at around 11pm.
Students return home and change and arrive back at school for a midnight departure to unknown entertainment destinations.
Wet and Wild on the Gold Coast is included but groups could also go ice skating, go-karting, or enjoy a two-hour lock-in at Time Zone.
"They know some of the things they are doing but not everything," Ms McKenna said.
"It's a drug and alcohol-free event and the kids are breath tested before we leave but we've never had a problem."
The idea has been a winner with students with more than 75% of the graduating class signing up for the tour.
Nadine Bell is one student looking forward to the unique experience.
"This will be my first time going out all night so I'm pretty excited," Ms Bell said.
"It's going to be a big night so I'll definitely need my sleep beforehand."
Fellow student Sarah Cole agreed.
"For the year 12s, it's a great way to wind down after exams," she said.
"We have formal, Mystery Tour, then Dreamworld and graduation.
"There is so much to do it's excellent."