Girton Grammar year 12 graduates spend schoolies volunteering in Thailand and Cambodia

Imagine giving up a heady jaunt to the Gold Coast or Great Ocean Road to work with disadvantaged children in Thailand and Cambodia.   

They call it “alternative schoolies” and it has become a popular option for Girton Grammar year 12 graduates.

Twelve of the school’s departing cohort joined the program this year, teaching English, music and sports to young people in the south-east Asian countries.

Girton community service head Rachelle Fisher said the trip was a way for students to end their school experience “on a positive note with friends, but not in the traditional party scene”.

“The trip offers students the chance to be with one another in a meaningful way, which the students find immensely satisfying,” she said.

“It’s a really positive and safe way to round out thirteen years of school life.”

They school partners with non-government organisation the Father Ray Foundation, which provides housing, education, food and medical assistance to 850 disadvantaged children.

But it’s not all work, Mrs Fisher said; the students spend time sight-seeing and learning about local cultures.

“They always find the trip both enjoyable and rewarding.”

An “Alternative schoolies” option was also offered at Victory Christian College. Twelve students gave their time to charities in India.