The year 12 class of 2021 at Wagga High School have been through the works. Like all students across the country in their final year, COVID-19 has heavily impacted them for a second year running.
But the current year 12 group at Wagga High School along with the staff, have united in the times of hardship. Each student supporting one another through the final hurdles of their schooling years.
Lachie Stephens, one of the school leaders at Wagga High, said he has never seen a group of year 12 peers come together like the current cohort.
"It has been a bit of a blessing in disguise, a very masked disguise but it has been there," he said.
"Looking up a previous year 12 groups, there's always been a bit of a disconnection there. But in our year 12 cohort, there are friendships everywhere, no one does not like anyone.
"As a year, we are as close I have ever seen any other year before us."
Both Mr Stephens and fellow leadership member Lily Stein are feeling the impact of the pandemic.
Ms Stein was supposed undertake her dance HSC exams on Tuesday and Wednesday, only for them to be pushed back at the eleventh hour.
"My dance HSC exams were meant to be today and tomorrow, but we were told they were cancelled on Saturday," she said.
"Just preparing for that and then it being cancelled and then having to adapt to whether we will do it, is just hard.
"But we are definitely getting through it with a lot of support from all around the school."
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Relieving head teacher of wellbeing Katrina Smith said she is incredibly proud of the class of 2021 and her colleagues, with the HSC already difficult without COVID adding extra pressure.
"We feel really proud with how resilient our students are here. But we really promote their social well-being, because if their social well-being is traveling well, it is going to translate into their academic learning," she said.
"I am also incredibly proud of our student support officers, our FRS team, our counsellors, teacher mentors and of course our classroom teachers, who support students on the ground to stop that fear and uncertainty, which you have in year 12 anyway."
Principal Chris Davies also praised the resilience of the current year 12 group and staff.
"Again we are on that knife's edge as we don't know if we are going to be in lockdown tomorrow, so staff are prepared for that which is an incredible effort and their resilience goes well beyond what anyone in the past has had to do," he said.
"And this poor group of year 12 students have been the ones hit the most...they have missed out on milestones, but they keep smiling and keep moving ahead as a group and a team."
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