22 students and 6 teachers from Browns Plains State High School tackled the Kokoda challenge in the Gold Coast Hinterlands from the 17th – 18th July.
Six teams from the school completed a 48-kilometre hike through Numinbah Valley from Beechmont to Nerang.
Browns Plains State High School year 12 co-ordinator Ryan Calvert said the mountain terrain meant the participants were constantly going up and down hills.
“It’s more of a mental challenge than a physical one,” he said.
“We take our school kids through the course to help them build their endurance, courage, mateship and sacrifice, which are the Kokoda values.”
The challenge, which took the BPSHS teams between 13 and 16 hours to complete, included an eight hour walk through the pitch-black darkness overnight.
“The 48 kilometres isn’t too bad … but walking for 13 hours straight took its toll,” he said.
“The boys really banded together as a team and encouraged each other through it.”
A support crew of parents and teachers met the participants at two checkpoints to restock their water supplies and provide warm clothes for during the night.
To prepare for the challenge, the teams participated in fortnightly 13-30km training hikes.
“The whole event really brought everyone closer together – as staff and students, we got to see each other in a different way outside of the classroom,” Mr Calvert said.
“A friendship really built between all of us.”
The event attracted thousands of participants, including 123 school groups.
The BPSHS students included Tylar, Lauchlan, Zaine, Luke, Bridie, William, AJ, Lincoln, Chelsea, Jesse T, Jesse H, Ter, Vivian, Gemma, Imogen, Bryce, Lachlan, Mathew, Jackson, Erin, Daniell, and Gabe.
They were accompanied on the challenge by Mrs Collins, Mrs Sanderson, Mr Calvert, Miss Phan, Mr Papadimitrio, and Mr Lombardo.
“The school is definitely doing it again next year,” Mr Calvert said.
Funds were raised for the Kodoka Youth Foundation; an Australian charity with a mission to change teenager’s lives through programs that engage and inspire them to reach their full potential.
By the 22nd July 2021, the Browns Plains State High School teams had collectively raised $8,995 through donations from local businesses, family and friends.
Mr Calvert’s team raised $4,625, which exceeded their $350 fundraising goal.
“Our team is currently ranked second out of the 123 school teams participating in the challenge – an achievement the boys and I are super proud of,” Mr Calvert said.
“Your support could help us hit number 1.”
Donations can be made on the website until the 13th August via the link below.