Orana Steiner School's five-student year 12 cohort have grown up together. They were already close friends until the year they have been handed to complete their studies and start their adult lives, solidified them as a family.
They had barely started their final year when their 2021 plans collapsed.
Forced out of the classroom for six weeks, 18th birthdays couldn't be celebrated how they'd hoped and travel became impossible.
The year has overflowed with disappointment and bad news, as young people were reminded they would bear the brunt of the economic impact of COVID-19 as job opportunities dwindled and unemployment spiked.
Their timelines may be different and adventures will have to wait a few months or years, but disappointment has given way to gratitude and excitement for the resilient bunch.
As one of the city's smallest graduating classes, the Orana students' end-of-year festivities were never in doubt.
"Even when everyone else's formals were cancelled we were going to have ours, because 30 people are coming," Indigo Nowlan-Crisp said.
Whole-school graduation traditions the students have participated in since kindergarten could also go ahead, as restrictions eased further this month allowing larger gatherings.
The transition to remote learning left the students demotivated, but they recognised the benefits of their tiny class.
"For our main classes which we all have together, we found it really easy not to have to mute ourselves, we could just have a normal chat," Dana Atkins said.
Ivalo Goodman-Viereck found it hard to spend the day 'in class' virtually then switch her focus to homework.
"It was a bit hard to be motivated, to realise you have things to do because you've been sitting there working all day on the computer," she said.
Their year 12 projects, a mainstay of Steiner education, were thrown out the window. Dana had planned to volunteer in an aged-care facility as a stepping stone to her health career.
"I thought that would give me some valuable experience to know that I wanted to be in health," she said.
The school play Thomas Gagel expected to perform in front of hundreds of people became a virtual affair, with a final show before a handful of teachers.
"Drama really took a hit because we couldn't perform in real life. It went to rehearsing over Zoom and everyone was out of time. It was quite hard," he said.
"We all came in at the end though and pulled something together."
Dana is going to be an emergency doctor, or a paramedic. She has applied for every medical science degree in the country and has her fingers crossed she'll get in to one.
"It's quite competitive, I think it's the number one field that people choose as their first preference," she said.
She has watched her dream career thrust into the spotlight as one of the most critical through the pandemic. Dana was already determined to start a role "where paramedicine and medicine meet", in emergency or with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The pandemic has exacerbated the community's understanding and appreciation of Dana's future field, and she hopes after this year she'll be prepared to tackle it.
Indigo is a planner who likes to know her next step. She had the next 20 years mapped out until COVID-19 came along.
Year 12 was critical, she needed to knuckle down to get into university, where she'll study to become a regional vet, a career she has been dreaming of since she was 14.
"It is stressful, I like knowing what's going to happen," she said.
"Not knowing what my year at uni is going to look like next year, and I really want to leave Canberra and get out and explore the world."
Indigo was unsure if practical classes would go ahead, or how she would learn those skills.
In a few months, Griffin Taylor should have been on his way the United States to work at a summer camp.
"Obviously, I can't do that now, which is disappointing. But hopefully I'll get out there at some stage ... things are a little unclear for me at the moment."
With an entrepreneurial mind, closed borders have given Griffin an opportunity to grow budding business opportunities.
This year he started a business maintaining apartment complexes around town, and in marketing for new developments. Next year could be a chance to delve into his business in a way he wouldn't have otherwise, he said.
For Thomas, university wasn't on the cards until everything changed this year. Now, he's excited to start a psychology degree at the University of Canberra.
"I thought 'I'm not going to go to uni and I'll just work'," he said.
"But I decided that's probably not a good idea."
It's been a busy year for the retail worker who was on the frontline when panic-buying ensued.
Thomas was ready for something different after a year where he hadn't ventured outside of Canberra.
Ivalo's 2021 plans were jilted but not completely overturned.
She wants to return to Denmark after exploring Europe, where COVID-19 cases were rapidly spiralling out of control. Travel may be out of the question but she believed she had plenty of time left for adventure.
"I'm just really interested ... to experience the world a little more," she said.
"I've been lucky to travel around a bit growing up ... we lived in Denmark for a little while.
"It doesn't have to be next year, I could take time off in two years or three years or something instead and do it then ... I still have opportunities."
The Danish citizen hoped to move countries and find her passion before starting university.