HARRISON KADELL and his three close mates chose to avoid schoolies celebrations on the Gold Coast this year.
Instead, the foursome left Brisbane on Sunday bound for an island paradise in Fiji with more than 500 other school leavers.
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Brisbane schoolie Harrison Kadell may have been playing a game of dare in a Fiji pool when he drowned following an all-night party, leaving an "immense loss" for his family and friends.
Harrison, 17, a former school vice captain and athletics age champion, had been in Fiji for two days when tragedy struck.
Fiji police said Harrison drowned in a pool at the Plantation Island Resort, off Nadi, early on Tuesday morning. He was found dead about 4am local time.
The circumstances of his death remain unclear, although several St Thomas More College graduates in Brisbane told Fairfax they understood he may have been playing a ''breath dare'' game, where participants compete to hold their breath underwater.
A Fiji police spokeswoman, Ana Naisoro, declined to comment on the speculation, saying investigations would continue.
The travel company which booked the schoolies trip to Fiji described the death as a ''tragic accident''. ''The parents of the teenager involved in the tragic accident at Plantation Island Resort have been notified and all other guests are safe and well, being well cared for during this unfortunate time,'' Unleashed Travel said on Facebook.
The principal of St Thomas More College, Peter Elmore, said reports Harrison died playing a game were speculative. ''I haven't been told that and the family hasn't been told that,'' he said.
Mr Elmore was with Harrison's parents, David and Selina, older sister Jordan and younger brother Lachlan, soon after the family was notified of the teenager's death by the Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday morning. ''They are numb, in grief, shocked,'' he said. ''They're trying to piece together what happened.''
Harrison's family were en route to Fiji on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr Elmore remembered Harrison as ''an outstanding student and outstanding athlete''.
''Harrison was such a fine young man,'' he said. ''This has rocked our community. We're deeply saddened and in grief.''
His family was heavily involved in the school. His mother was chairwoman of the school board and his older sister a former college captain. Harrison's brother Lachlan is in year 10 at the college.
Harrison was remembered by his grieving peers, who gathered at the college's chapel on Tuesday, as being kind and popular with the girls.
Kyaha Hoh said: ''He was an amazing person. He was nice and caring.''
Chelsea Young and Kadance O'Connor said his death would affect the entire school community. ''You don't even have to be friends with him to be affected by it,'' Ms Young said. ''He's a pretty tremendous guy.''
''He was gorgeous and charming,'' Ms O'Connor added.
Outside school Harrison dabbled in acting, having been an extra in the movies Fool's Gold and Swimming Upstream. He also appeared in commercials for McDonald's and Big W.
Unleashed Travel promoted its overseas schoolies holiday packages as the ''ultimate experience''.
It is the second schoolies death during this year's celebrations after Brisbane school leaver Isabelle Colman, 17, fell to her death from the 26th floor of the Chevron Renaissance apartment tower at Surfers Paradise late last month.
''From a school perspective, the community is shocked,'' the Brisbane Catholic Education spokesman John Phelan said of the latest tragedy.