The end of the week meant no school for Whanganui High School students, but instead of staying home, about 67 students took to Castlecliff Beach to pick up rubbish.
While teachers focused on their teacher-only day, head prefects rallied the troops down to the beach on Friday in support of New Zealand's annual Sea Week.
Head of communities perfect Aranga Molijn said they were only expecting 20 to 30 students so to get 67 of all ages was a really good response
"The community prefects thought we would organise something for kids to do and it gives back to the community as well, and it's nice to do on a day off."
Aranga said NZAEE Sea Week is a nationwide initiative that recognises the impact the ocean has on people and people have on the ocean.
"It's acknowledging the fact that we're not doing as much as we could be."
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She said this year the head prefects wanted to get involved with the initiative because it is their job to be aware of what is going on in the community and something they are passionate about.
The morning started with students meeting the prefect and their groundskeeper Mr Martin about 9am on the beach. Then, with disposable bags or boxes they walked the length of the beach and into the sand dunes.
Students returned at 10.45am to the starting point to weigh rubbish and put it in the correct bins.
The prefects also ran a competition with the prize being a $20 Citadel voucher for the student who collected the most rubbish.
They collected a total 168kg of rubbish and Fynn Francksen won the prize, collecting 33kg.
Aranga said they collected a lot of bottles but not as many plastic bags as two years ago when she was part of another beach clean-up in the same area.
"It's great we were able to pick up so much but it's really quite depressing. It would have been better to come out here and maybe only find 50kg, it's quite sad."
She said much of the rubbish picked up had begun to disintegrate into tiny pieces, making it harder to pick up.
Most rubbish was in the sand dunes, she said, and it would have eventually ended up in the ocean.
Whanganui's Resource Recovery Centre disposed of all the rubbish and recyclable items for free.
Aranga was very happy with the success of the day and the group will be encouraging the rest of the school to keep their oceans clean at their next assembly.