Sighs of relief as year 12s celebrate the end of their 2020

Murray Bridge High School's graduating class never got its formal, but a dinner on Monday gave them a chance to kick back – and reflect.

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“It has all been building up to this.”

“We finished.

“We made it.”

Kiah Edwards and her friends, dressed to the nines, laughed and chatted outside the Bridges Event Centre at Gifford Hill on Monday night.

COVID-19 had forced Murray Bridge High School’s year 12s to study at home, had put them out of work in many cases, had complicated their journeys towards further study or future careers, and had even cost them their formal.

But on Monday night they could forget all that, as they shared a fancy dinner to celebrate all they had achieved – and survived.

“Tonight is a sigh of relief for us,” Michael Parker said, “knowing we were able to get through all that happened.”

The year had started alright and ended on this high note, but the months in between had been a slog, he said.

“After COVID hit we didn't have the motivation to do any work because we had to stay at home,” he said.

“When we came back (to school) we kicked into another gear.”

With the exam period over as of Monday, then, it was time to relax and enjoy one another’s company before heading out into the adult world.

One by one they pulled up at the racecourse's windswept entrance, to a small crowd of smartphone-wielding onlookers: Commodores, Mustangs, WRXes, a stretch Hummer and even a Harley-Davidson.

They had finished.

They made it.