Schoolies Week is a distressing time for many parents who have children on the party circuit which now signifies the end of secondary school.
It was not that long ago when students finished their last Higher School Certificate examination they started work almost immediately. If it was not a full time job, it was casual work to save some money in preparation for life at university which started a few months down the track.
With one death, one rape, numerous episodes of alcohol-fuelled violence, a countless number of sore heads caused by an over indulgence of alcohol and any number of horror stories which will not be told, its troubling that many of those attending the party week are just 18.
Writing themselves off day after day is hardly the healthy start most parents want for their children. It also reflects poorly on our society that alcohol is the key to having a good time among people who have just reached the legal drinking age.
But to be fair, not everyone at Schoolies is over indulging or causing trouble. There are plenty who go to enjoy themselves but know their limits and take plenty of care.
Unfortunately, the scenes we see on the television news and the reports we read in the newspapers paints a different picture.
Sadly, Schoolies Week and all that is wrong with the end of school ritual attracts plenty of attention and is bad publicity for the next generation.
But there are plenty of good stories around involving young people, like that of Tara Winkler, an old girl of the New England Girls’ School at Armidale.
Next week she will revisit her school as guest speaker at its annual speech day.
She has set up the Cambodian Children’s Trust after, at 23, she rescued 14 orphans from a corrupt institution and became responsible for their wellbeing.
Two years ago she was named NSW Young Australian of the Year.
The world needs more people like Tara Winkler and hopefully some of those nursing hangovers from their end of school celebrations will find their own way to have a positive impact on society.