FINAL STRETCH: Year 12s are reflecting on their final year as graduation quickly approaches.
FINAL STRETCH: Year 12s are reflecting on their final year as graduation quickly approaches. iStock

Dalby seniors get ready to say goodbye

WITH big dreams, bright futures and just 35 days until they walk out the school gates for the last time, Dalby Year 12 students are preparing to say goodbye to 13 years of school routines.

The final countdown started to hit students this week as they returned from holidays for the final six weeks of their high- school education.

Filled with excitement and passion for the future, students from Dalby Christian College, Dalby State High School and Our Lady of the Southern Cross College reflected on their year as seniors.

The best is yet to come for our Year 12s as they look forward to formals and graduation next month, with the gruelling exams of term three and the dreaded QCS test behind them.

The Dalby Herald spoke to some seniors this week to recap their favourite moments and find out what they are looking forward to about the future.

Here's what they had to say.

DALBY CHRISTIAN COLLEGE

Max Davidson,  Ethan Neuendorf, Laycee Fermor, Henry Brauer and Brandon Seebaran are excited to see what lies ahead of their high school days.
Max Davidson, Ethan Neuendorf, Laycee Fermor, Henry Brauer and Brandon Seebaran are excited to see what lies ahead of their high school days. Emily Bradfield

AS GRADUATION looms, seniors at the Dalby Christian College are preparing to take on their next big adventure - life.

Making it over the biggest hump of exams and stress, excitement is starting to set in for the students in their final few weeks of classes.

School captain Brandon Seebaran said he was glad to reach the home stretch.

"Term three was a bit crazy but I think we've got through the worst of it now,” he said.

"Right now I'm pretty excited but I think on that last week when it starts to sink in, I'll be kind of sad to leave school.”

Ethan Neuendorf agreed the worst was over and said he had mixed emotions reaching the end.

"Term three was the craziest term yet and we really had to knuckle down and put in some of the hardest work,” he said.

"It's a bit exciting, it's a bit nerve wracking as well ... a place I've been for 13 years, it's sort of coming to an end.”

As Judson house captain, Ethan's favourite part of the year has been watching their success in house competitions.

"Winning most of the house competitions and being in the lead, it's really good especially being Judson house captain,” he said.

Brandon was equally excited to see Judson in the lead.

"This is my fourth year here and my house hasn't won yet ... we're in the lead so that's pretty exciting,” he said.

School prefect Henry Brauer said it was hard to believe he'd reached the end of his schooling but he can't wait to get out into the real world.

"It's a little bit surreal, it still feels like I've got five years to go,” he said.

Henry was inspired to become a diesel fitter when working on his uncle's farm during Year 8, and will walk out the school gates and straight into his apprenticeship come graduation day.

Also heading down the trade path is Max Davidson, who hopes to work as a fitter and turner when he leaves school.

Laycee Fermor is most excited for the independence that comes with finishing school.

"Being able to do my own thing and make my own choices and start working,” she said.

Laycee has plans to continue her beautician traineeship at Ella Bache before packing her bags and seeing the world.

Making memories with her peers while at their last school camp was a real highlight of senior year for Laycee.

"It was the last time we're all together and having a lot of fun, working together and building those friendships,” she said.

DALBY STATE HIGH SCHOOL

The Dalby State High Schol year 12 cohort had mixed emotions heading into their final term of high school.
The Dalby State High Schol year 12 cohort had mixed emotions heading into their final term of high school. Emily Bradfield

THERE were mixed emotions at Dalby State High School on Tuesday as seniors returned from holidays for their final term.

Excited for freedom and making decisions for themselves, no more uniforms and no more assignments, the students bubbled with excitement about the possibilities of life beyond the school gates, but many shared equal feelings of apprehension about leaving their school days behind.

Reflecting on their year as seniors, the Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge in July stood out for many as a highlight.

Ryan Luck was one of more than 25 students who took part in the challenge which, he said, was a really rewarding experience.

"You find your strengths, it was a really big challenge,” he said.

"You discover a new part of yourself on the journey.”

Senior student Bryn O'Connor agreed Kokoda was one of the best experiences so far but said the best bits of Year 12 were coming up in the remaining six weeks.

"I feel like the best is yet to come, there's lots to look forward to with formal and graduation,” he said.

With the reality of the final few weeks starting to sink in, the students are excited to start the next chapter, with some taking on apprenticeships or jumping into the workforce and others heading off to uni to study across a range of fields, including social work, nursing, para medicine, rural science, zoology, food science, engineering, public relations and more.

Jack Kings is ready to step out of school and step into an apprenticeship at the Kogan Creek mine.

"This year has been pretty good but I'm getting really keen for work,” he said. "It's been a good time with my mates and everyone supporting me, it's been good.”

While some have got it all figured out, others are still finding their path, but Year 12 co-ordinator Karen Marini said they still had plenty of time.

"It's good to know what you're doing but you don't have to know what you're doing because there are so many avenues open and they do have the world at their feet,” she said.

"Their paths will change and things will come up in their lives and it may not go according to plan but that doesn't mean plan B isn't as good as plan A.”

OUR LADY OF THE SOUTHERN CROSS COLLEGE

Laney Schloss, Laura May, Zac Trcka and Jonty MacDougall from Our Lady of the Southern Cross College are enjoying the last few weeks of sitting at the seniors' table.
Laney Schloss, Laura May, Zac Trcka and Jonty MacDougall from Our Lady of the Southern Cross College are enjoying the last few weeks of sitting at the seniors' table. Emily Bradfield

SENIORS at Our Lady of the Southern Cross College have been counting down the days all year but, as grad- uation quickly approaches, reality is starting to set in.

"We're just appreciating every day at school now, we're making the most out of it,” Year 12 student Laney Schloss said.

The tight knit cohort at Our Lady has spent the year making memories with peers, dressing up as preppies at the swimming carnival and bonding over their shared love of TV show Brooklyn 99 by dressing up as different characters from the show for "fandom day”.

Amid the excitement to leave, the seniors admitted they would miss the close friendships made.

"You'll still have them on social media, but you won't see them every day ... we all have to start from fresh pretty much,” Laney said.

"It opens up a whole lot of new opportunities to meet new people and discover new things.”

The musical was a major highlight for the students with more than half of the Year 12 class participating, including a few unlikely additions.

Normally a star on the sporting field, Jonty MacDougall tested out his potential on the stage for this year's production of The Wiz and he said he enjoyed showing people a different side to himself.

"People know me as a sporty guy so I found the musical was the most impacting because not many people see me do that kind of stuff ... it was good to prove I can do stuff other than sport,” he said.

Zac Trcka also got involved in the musical for the first time this year and said it had been a highlight of his senior year so far.

"Musical was amazing, it was the first time I've ever done a musical. I kind of regret not doing any other ones because it was awesome,” he said.

Laura May had been in the college musical productions before but enjoyed her time in the spotlight playing a lead role this year.

"Musical was a highlight for me as well because this was my first year as a lead. I'd done them previously but this one I was super involved in and the process was amazing.”

For Laney, the highlight was representing the school at a netball carnival in Bundaberg.

Graduation will be the end of an era for Zac and Jonty who have been at the college since prep.

"It doesn't feel right, it hasn't sunk in yet that we're finishing in like six weeks,” Zac said.

The college has also become a home away from home for Laura who started at OLSCC in Year 4.

"It's scary to leave, this is the school I've stayed here at the longest - we used to move around a lot - so having settled down and this be 'my' place, it feels really sad to leave but also really good,” she said.

After experiencing life as a senior, the students offered up wisdom to the students taking their place next year.

"Try not to let the stress get to you,” Zac said.

Jonty offered the age-old advice not to leave school work to the last minute.

"Don't leave stuff to the last minute or try to avoid it as much as possible.

"The stress does get to you but it comes and goes so, it you believe in yourself and others, you'll be right,” he said.

Laura said 2020 seniors should stay focussed and do their best but "to have fun” also.

"Focus on schoolwork as much as you can but it's not all about that, you can have fun and be supportive of each other, that's what will help the most,” she said.

Laney reminded them it's not all about the grade on paper when they finish.

"Try your best in every- thing but take time out for yourself too because it comes down to your mental health. Have a good support base, have people you can go to for advice and support and don't beat yourself up too much about the mark on the piece of paper because it doesn't define you,” she said.