Following an academic year like no other, schools around Queensland are set to farewell their latest cohort of Year 12 students.
But few students have had to overcome as many barriers to education as 17-year-old Lucy.
Being a young mum, having English as a second language and not having family around to support her were challenges Lucy had to overcome to finish school.
Following a traumatic upbringing in Africa, Lucy came to Australia from Ivory Coast as an unaccompanied refugee in 2011 and commenced at Carinity Education Southside this year.
She is one of 11 Southside students who will graduate on November 20.
“I felt accepted at Carinity. They helped me to be proud of being a mother. There was no judgement about being pregnant when I got here,” Lucy says.
“Southside is a very supportive school and will do all they can to help a student cope with school and life.
“I always knew I would finish high school because there is more opportunity for school than in my country, so I took advantage of that.”
Southside students also had to overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19 in their senior year.
For several months, students learned remotely with school youth workers delivering schoolwork, empowering students to continue their learning from home during the coronavirus shutdown.