St Mary's students raise funds for 'alternative schoolies'

PIE DRIVE: Year 12 St Mary's students Leah Broekman, Krystal Jauja, Mayah Bourke-Tindal, Whitney Mansfield, Pennie Broekman, Rebecca Etheridge, Hannah Breneger with teacher Karen Mooney.
PIE DRIVE: Year 12 St Mary's students Leah Broekman, Krystal Jauja, Mayah Bourke-Tindal, Whitney Mansfield, Pennie Broekman, Rebecca Etheridge, Hannah Breneger with teacher Karen Mooney.

The humble meat pie will help Year 12 students at St Mary’s College to realise a unique cultural experience.

With the help of teacher Karen Mooney, seven students are fundraising for an “alternative schoolies” trip to the Philippines in November as part of the Catholic Mission Australia’s Immersion Program.

Students from the school have been opting for the road less travelled for a number of years, with two students taking on Cambodia in 2016, and five student visiting the remote islands of Kiribati in 2015.

Seventeen-year-old students and friends, Pennie Broekman and Whitney Mansfield are among the seven females who have put their hand up for the Philippines this year.

It will be Pennie’s first trip overseas and the idea of flying in a plane excites her. 

The teen said her interest was sparked when 2016 Year 12 students Georgia Woodward and Carrie Woods gave a presentation on their time in Cambodia.

“I’ve always wanted to do something with people who are less fortunate than me and I just think it’s a good opportunity to do something out of the ordinary and a lot of schools don’t offer this sort of thing, so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity if I had it,” she said.

Fellow Year 12, Whitney, said it will be her second trip overseas after visiting Brazil in late 2015 with school captain Maria Ortiz.

“Just seeing the third world nature of everything and that sparked my interest in everything. I don’t have to be a bystander – I can help,” she said.

Whitney said she was nervous about living in a culture that is so different but thinks it will be a bonding experience for the group.

“I think it will help us become closer. Maybe strengthen those ties,” she said.

Immersions business manager John Kerrigan said the group will fly into Cebu and spend their first day looking at the history of the local area. After a stay overnight, they will travel to an island and stay in a village for about eight days.

During their time in the village, the students will take on challenges, such as cooking local food and navigating the marketplace. They will also spend time with school students, teaching English and learning about the native culture.

Mrs Mooney said planning had ongoing for about 12 months, with the students busy raising about $2000 through school-based ventures such as pizza days. 

The funds will go towards the cost of the trip, and the Filipino community.

The teacher said she was looking forward to making new connections in a foreign country and supporting the students as they take in a different culture.

Related stories: