Tomaree High School students attempt world record to launch Youth Week in Port Stephens

Tomaree High School students Katerina Nicolopoulos and Rhianna Mackenzie, 16, organised the world record attempt. The pair flew to Sydney on Thursday for the Youth Week Forum.
Tomaree High School students Katerina Nicolopoulos and Rhianna Mackenzie, 16, organised the world record attempt. The pair flew to Sydney on Thursday for the Youth Week Forum.

A world record attempt kicked off Youth Week events in Port Stephens.

Last Friday, April 9, 190 Tomaree High School students linked arms and at the same time, all stood up in a bid to break the world record for the action and to highlight that, while they may feel alone at times, there is always someone they can reach out to.

“We wanted to create an event that would bring youth together,” one of the event’s organisers, Katerina Nicolopoulos, 16, said.

“We came up with this world record idea. It was something we thought was achievable, but standing up together is also symbolic.

“Everyone is fighting some sort of battle. We thought this could be a great way to show people that they aren’t alone.”

Youth Week in Port Stephens:

Ms Nicolopoulos and Rhianna Mackenzie, 16, worked with the school’s student representative council (SRC) to bring the event to life.

The record for the most arm-linked people to stand up simultaneously is 118, achieved by Charotar Education Society in India on March 8, 2016.

Tomaree’s 190 students carried out the attempt on the school oval a number of times, recording the feat so they would send it off to Guinness World Records for a determination.

The idea for the record attempt came after the SRC carried out a survey in the school to find out what issues are affecting students.

The overwhelming majority of responses was stress and mental health.

“Events like this raise awareness that there are always people around you,” Ms Mackenzie said.

“We wanted to focus our event on the survey issue that is affecting a lot of students, because it’s a big issue.”

The record attempt was carried out ahead of NSW Youth Week so it could be done within the school term and before Ms Nicolopoulos and Ms Mackenzie attended the Youth Week Forum in Sydney on Thursday, April 12.

The Nelson Bay teens, who are part of the Port Stephens Youth Advisory Panel, put their hands up to attend the one-day leadership forum at parliament house.

In addition to taking part in leadership workshops, the teens were able to meet youth leaders from other NSW council areas, hear from speakers and meet parliamentarians.

“We definitely wanted to be part of it,” Ms Mackenzie said. “It’s an incredible opportunity to be part of. It will open a lot more doors to us, and help us develop our leadership skills which we can bring back home and use to help others.”

NSW Youth Week runs April 13 to April 22.

A number of Youth Week events have been planned for Port Stephens, including:

Picnic on the Lawn 

When: Friday, April 13 

Time: 3.30pm to 6pm

Where: Raymond Terrace Library front lawn

What: Chill out with a DJ, giant games, trivia and more

The Drop launch

When: Friday, April 13

Time: 3.30pm to 6pm

Where: The Drop, Tilligerry (previously the Girl Guides Hall)

What: The official launch of The Drop drop in centre for young people. 

Tomaree Youth Community Action (TYCA) Skate and Skoota Comp 

When: Sunday, April 15

Time: 9am to 3pm

Where: Fly Point Skate Park, Nelson Bay

What: The TYCA Skate and Skoota comp returns for a second year and will be offering another amazing day of activities and action. More details on the competition here or check out the TYCA Facebook page.

Art and Music Workshops with Up and Up 

When: Sunday, April 22

Time: 11am to 2pm

Where: Medowie Skate Park

What: A day of art and music hosted by the dynamic social enterprise Up and Up.