The costumes were eye-catching, the car parking efforts questionable, the water pistols were plentiful - it appeared Sapphire Coast Anglican College was at the mercy of its graduating Year 12 students on Friday.
The takeover was made complete when school captains Millie Whyman and Heather Baker won the bid to become principal for the day. As the BDN arrived they were actually giving a prospective family an introduction interview and school tour, before preparing to sign off on principal awards.
"That was so stressful and we've only just started!" they said with a laugh.
Outside the principal's office there was also plenty of fun happening, with a school-wide mufti day, and class takeovers by the Year 12 students.
"Muck-up day has been a great sort of release from all the things we've faced this year," Heather said
Money being raised on the day was to be donated towards bushfire relief as well as put towards the school's sponsor child program.
The senior year has been full of disruptions, first bushfires and floods, then COVID-19 school closures and state-imposed restrictions on activities and gatherings.
"It felt nice being at home, but it wasn't nice to be working there," Nicholas Fantham said. "I was happy to come back to school."
Nicholas acknowledged the challenges being felt by all HSC students heading into study break.
"Learning the entire year of a course with random gaps, a few weeks off here and there [has been a challenge].
"It has meant endless study, but we're all excited, all prepared to get on with it."
Principal - their real one this time - Tracey Gray said a recent "wellbeing day" was also a way for the Year 12 class to take time out and support each other.
"We acknowledge they are under so much pressure - so this was a good time to relax and be together.
"There were mainly games and also tips on how to manage stress during this time, how to build some balance between study and the stresses of being isolated - from today they are back at home and not back at school until the exams.
"We looked at strategies of mindfulness, good nutrition and exercise - all those good things we know we should do, and which are even more important for these young people and for the year they've had."
The HSC examination period gets underway on October 20.