IT WAS an emotional farewell for 138 Year 12 students as they graduated from Maclean High School on Wednesday.
The day began with an early start as staff cooked a barbecue breakfast and ended with the evening formal event at the Yamba Bowling Club where students were presented to their families.
Despite mixed feelings, year advisor Alana Jones said one of the highlights of the night was seeing her students out of school uniform and dressed in formal gowns and suits.
"The students looked stunning in their formal gear... beautiful," Ms Jones said.
She said her own daughter had also graduated this year, making for a very emotional night.
"I started working with these students when they were in Year 6 and now they are young adults. The quad was empty and lonely today," she said.
Earlier in the week principal Tony Carr provided the students with a "mystery tour", sending three bus loads of teenagers with five teachers on an all-expenses-paid day trip to enjoy activities in Lismore followed by lunch at Shores Bay in Ballina.
"We no longer have muck-up day, so this is a great alternative," Ms Jones said.
"It was the first time we have organised a mystery tour and it was such a great day, we'll definitely be doing it again."
The students will begin HSC exams in mid-October.