Finishing high school is a massive achievement for anyone, but Victoria's class of 2021 has experienced a final two years of school unlike any other.
Regional school students have had to endure seven lockdowns sandwiched between tough government imposed restrictions over the past 18 months.
Ararat's Marian College principal Mrs Carmel Barker said she was "really pleased" with how the year 12 cohort fared in 2021.
"Their focus and resilience throughout the exam block has been really impressive," she said.
"It has been a really difficult road for this group over the past two years."
Marian College co-captain Olivia Cole said the year was "pretty tough".
"It was difficult at the start and through year 11, but we got used to it and it got easier as it went along," she said.
"We had the support of everyone at school and the teachers were really great ."
"The teachers really adapted their programs to help us as much as they could, we were really grateful for that."
Olivia said in a year which was supposed to be filled with celebration and memories, the hardest part was being separated from her fellow students.
"Not having our friends around as much and not seeing each other everyday was tough," she said.
"It was isolating at times but we all stuck together really well."
Olivia said knowing the class of 2020 was able to overcome the COVID-19 hurdle gave her confidence she would be able to do the same.
"Seeing them get through it did give us hope," she said.
"They were kind of role models to us, so we knew we could get through it.
"I am a pretty motivated person, I just think I kept myself in a routine, it was a pretty quick year."
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Co-captain Hendrix Bourizk said the experience of living through the pandemic while studying year 11 helped him prepare for his final year of study.
"It wasn't too bad to deal with because it was pretty similar to last year," he said.
"Obviously it was a bit harder because it was year 12 and we were at home with limited resources.
"It took a little bit of time to get used to the Zoom meetings as well.
Hendrix said the COVID-19 lockdowns and at-home learning allowed him to become more independent.
"You had to figure things out yourself more, rather than relying on other people to help you," he said.
Hendrix said he developed coping mechanisms to stay motivated throughout the year.
"It definitely wasn't as easy as it could have been," he said.
"I took breaks every now and then and I would shut my phone off all of the way and I would play quiet music in the background.
"These tactics enabled me to not get distracted while at home."
Olivia plans to study veterinary science at Charles Sturt University and Hendrix is hoping to study Dentistry at La Trobe University.
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