Laidley teenager Casey Gilloway will most likely not attend her school formal in Toowoomba this year. (Photo: Fillipa Gilloway)
Laidley teenager Casey Gilloway will most likely not attend her school formal in Toowoomba this year. (Photo: Fillipa Gilloway)

YEAR 12: No dancing, after parties for coronavirus graduates

THIS year’s high school graduates have many first for their cohort – not just the senior class of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

They were the first Preps, the first high school Year 7s and the first group to tackle the new ATAR system.

But this year, they will also be the first year 12s to experience an entirely different graduation formal.

Laidley teenager Casey Gilloway is not planning to attend her high school formal at Wilsonton State High School in Toowoomba.

The 17-year-old said the formal will only consist of a dinner, and no “fun stuff” like dancing.

“You’re just there to have dinner, then go straight home,” Casey said.

“A lot of people were looking forward to after parties, and we can’t do any of that.”

It’s the same plan for Lockyer Valley and Somerset high schools – formals, at this stage, will go ahead - but they will follow chief medical advice that applies to clubs and pubs.

But that could change if Queensland’s coronavirus cases continue to rise across southeast Queensland.

Restrictions have tightened for the greater Brisbane area, including the Lockyer Valley, which means groups of no more than 10 can congregate at a residence.

Due to COVID restrictions at her school, Casey said she wasn’t able to have more than three people at her formal arrival, which meant her extended family couldn’t come.

“It’s quite expensive, and I thought if its just a dinner and people aren’t allowed to dance, there’s no point in me going and spending all that money just to come home afterwards,” she said.

“We have been the Guinea Pigs of everything, we were all looking forward to graduating and celebrating.”

Not only are formal changes a blow for this year’s graduates, but many that turn 18 are also unable to celebrate becoming an adult.

For Casey, her 18th birthday next month has been cancelled.

“I highly doubt the restrictions will ease in the next 30 days,” she said.

“It’s a bit upsetting, but what can you do.”


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