LEAVING behind their uniforms for the last time, hundreds of students came together to celebrate the end of their high school years in style.
The Mackay and Whitsunday graduates have gone through a year like no other.
The traditional teenage angst and final exam stress merged together with the launch of a new ATAR system at the height of a global pandemic.
So, after pulling through a horrific year, the Daily Mercury and Whitsunday Times decided to celebrate these young adults as they start a new chapter.
See all the glitz and glamour from a dozen formal events across the region here:
Whitsunday Anglican School
ONE NIGHT of enchantment came as a blessing for a group of stressed teenagers, as they stepped out to celebrate after a tough year.
As formals across the state were cancelled, 53 Whitsunday Anglican School students were able to celebrate a final night together before their final Year 12 exams.
St Patrick's College
IT WAS a night of glitz and glamour for the Year 12 students of St Patrick's College, who celebrated their final high school year at their formal.
Mackay Northern Beaches State High School
THE rides were as elaborate as the formal dresses when Mackay Northern Beaches State High School rolled out the red carpet for its graduating class.
Students rocked up in style, arriving at the school's red carpet runway in vintage rides, roaring muscle cars and sleek modern vehicles.
The surprise arrival of a dazzling blue semi-trailer was equalled when Year 12 student Georgia Knox-Brand climbed out of the monster vehicle in a matching glittering formal dress.
And this was not the only shock of the evening.
Mackay State High School
THE revving of engines marked the end of a chaotic year for the Mackay State High School graduating class.
Principal Felicity Roberts said it was a proud moment to see the 140 Year 12 students finally make it to their formal.
Ms Roberts said while corsages, dresses and suits were on display, the talk of the year was how each student would make their arrival.
"We had heard a lot of talk through the year about different cars," she said.
Mackay Christian College
A CLOSE-KNIT cohort of 46 students from Mackay Christian College celebrated the end of their high school years with an "enchanted forest" themed formal.
Principal Dr Barclie Gallogray said the school wanted to give the same "beautiful send off" as previous years, despite the pandemic.
"All of our staff have worked insanely hard to make this a beautiful place," Dr Gallogray said.
Proserpine State High School
STUDENTS from Proserpine State High School bid farewell to 2020 in style with their Year 12 formal on Daydream Island.
After a year of lockdowns and at-home learning, 112 graduates scrubbed up for a night of celebrations.
Sarina State High School
AMONG the glitz and the glamour, the sequins and the corsages, one thing was plainly obvious - a feeling of immense pride was shared by Sarina State High School students.
With exams done and graduation complete, all that remained for the Year 12 students to do was enjoy their formal celebrations.
And they did it in style.
Whitsunday Christian College
THE Whitsunday Christian College class of 2020 is testament to the saying "good things come in small packages" as 11 graduates bid farewell to the year in style.
Friends and family joined the students at Mantra Club Croc for their graduation dinner where arrivals on motorbikes and in flashy cars marked the start of a great evening.
St Catherine's Catholic College
STUDENTS from St Catherine's Catholic College dressed to impress to celebrate the end of their high school days.
The Year 12 cohort gathered at The Lookout at Coral Sea Marina for their school formal.
Pioneer State High School
FOR the staff at Pioneer State High School the graduating class of 2020 will always be remembered as humble champions who together took on all of life's challenges.
Principal Matthew Horton said the students had not only faced the new ATAR system and the pandemic, but a range of heartbreaking personal hurdles as well.
Despite their glamorous dresses and suits, Mr Horton said the true beauty of the close-knit Year 12 group was their ability to accept everyone "without airs and graces".
Bowen State High School
A DAZZLING send off was held for Bowen State High School Year 12 students, as they celebrated the end of a tough year.
Mackay North State High School
JUST like COVID-19 added extra challenges to 2020, the Year 12s of Mackay North State High School upped the ante for how to do their formal.
Student Bree Doherty said it felt amazing to graduate and be celebrating with her peers.
"We'll be written about in the history books so I'll be OK with that," she said.