October 2002
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Taking a break
By Christina C., Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Hot sun, white beaches, no parents, no rules. It's not March Break and its not a Survivor TV show. But it is a lifestyle that wouldn't take much getting used to. Then there is hard work, sleeping anywhere you can, no family there to support you and being responsible for the once simple task of staying alive.

In August of last year Jason Oreto decided to take up the challenge of moving to the other side of the world with two friends. Jason had just graduated from Fredericton High and was entering the real world. He knew early on that he would be taking the year off after high school. He was just not exactly sure what this year would bring or where he would be. It was midsummer when his friend, another former FHS student Alex Gorham, called him with a good price on one way tickets to Australia. Six weeks later Jason, Alex and Ryan Hayes (another F.H.S. grad) were on a plane to the land "down under".

Jason Oreto said they had no idea what they were in for. "The first few months were hard," said Jason. "We were like gypsies. We spent the night wherever we could -- on beaches, in cars, in hostels." After three months of living without knowing where they would wake up the next morning Jason left Alex and Ryan behind and moved to Melbourne where he got a job as a bartender and rented out an apartment. He spent five months in the apartment, before moving in with twenty other kids around his age.

After ten months of being away Jason decided to return home. Alex had already come home and Ryan would return one month later.

Jason doesn't feel that this experience changed him, "I am who I am. When I got home I was back to my old ways," he said. Jason feels that everyone should take the opportunity to see the world after school. But he urges they should not forget about school and its importance. Jason is now attending St. Thomas University as a full time student. He hopes one day to own his own business in Fredericton. He looks forward to living where he can raise his family and be his own boss.

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