On Wednesday, Sonya Karras had BSSCs Year 12s laughing, calling out, admitting to strange names for familiar conditions—and so quiet you could hear a pin drop in the Ulumbarra Theatre.

“I love coming to BSSC because I always feel like I make such a connection,” Sonya Said. “There is always a group who are willing to come up and tell me their stories at the end of my presentation.”

Approachable and open, unflappable and un-surpriseable, Sonya was lost in a small crowd of students as soon as her ‘Whole New World’ presentation was over.

Sonya’s powerful message began with the admission, “I’m not here to tell you to stay home, drink milk and love your parents,” and went on to cover a vast range of information about staying safe— the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption—the amount of hacking, stalking and appropriating of private information that occurs in cyber-space—the ubiquity of drink-spiking and how party drugs can mess up a life. All of it told with a mix of humour and shocking real-life examples.

“How many of you,” she asked, “have set your Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat devices up so your privacy is protected? So your location services are turned off?

“How many of you have a plan—and a back-up plan—to get out of a dangerous situation? You never have to stay in an unsafe situation—get yourself out of there! It’s okay to lie to a drunk driver.”

Sonya insisted that adulthood was full of great things.

“You’re going to love it,” she said, but she pulled no punches about the facts—and we can only hope our students listened.