By Margaret Maccoll
Sunshine Beach State High School Year 12 students celebrated their last day on Friday in what has become a traditional dip in the ocean.
This year the group gathered in a calm and orderly group before charging en masse into the waves.
Almost as many parents and family members flocked to the beach to watch and record the event.
A passing army helicopter flew over to take a closer look.
While it was an end of an era and the beginning of a life ahead for the students it was met with a mix of sadness and joy by parents.
“We can only hope he’ll find his way,” one mother said for her son who was planning to take a year off before going on to university.
A number of parents were expecting their children to have a gap year before choosing a career path.
Others already had their future mapped out. One mother said her daughter was planning to take up veterinary nursing and had begun while at school, having completing a Certificate II toward her studies.
The students celebrate their end of year with the school formal Friday night and many planned to take off to schoolies. One group had booked a holiday in Bali with a number of parents going along to keep tabs on the teens.