By Melissa Davey
NINE brave students in Victoria plunged down the side of a 133-metre building – about the size of 24 double-decker buses stacked on top of each other – to help raise money for kids in need.
On the last weekend of April, Year 11 and 12 students from Geelong Grammar School, south-west of Melbourne, travelled into the city to abseil down the side of the St James building.
The students took elevators to the roof where a harness was tightened around their waist, strong ropes were attached, and then they were slowly lowered.
Plunging for a cause
The students asked friends and family to donate money for the daring drop. All the money raised will go to Anglicare Victoria, a charity which helps kids who can’t live with their parents and who may be having a tough time.
Mieke Sowles says she’s abseiled down large rocks and a small building before, but never down a building as tall as St James.
“It was really fun,” says the 16-year-old.
“I leaned back in my harness and looked at the view which was really good. I could see the river and the city buildings. It was quite relaxing.”
The abseil was particularly special for Lewis Martin, who turned 18 on the day.
He says it was a novel way to spend his birthday while also raising money for less fortunate kids.
He was also the only boy who took part.
“Maybe girls are more outgoing and less scared,” he says. “It was pretty nerve-racking, but the view was amazing. I’ll never forget it.”
Samantha Amiridis, from Anglicare Victoria, says the abseil event, called “Altitude Shift”, took students out of their comfort zone.
“The event helps students become more aware that if they see someone at school sitting alone or who may not have any lunch, perhaps that student may be having a hard time, and may need a friend,” she says.