FINISHING high school is a significant event for teenagers, but for Ryan Shayler-Rouvray it was a milestone he never thought he would achieve.
The 17-year-old joined hundreds of other students who walked out of the gates for the last time on Friday.
It was an emotional battle for Ryan who has dyslexia and an intellectual disability.
He suffered bullying at various schools.
"It was heart-breaking. He would cry and cry. It was all over Facebook and at school," mum Roberta Shayler said.
"He was bullied for four years non-stop. The kids constantly picked on him. Kids threatened to bash him if he signed up for footy."
It was Ryan's inner strength that got him through.
Ryan is a keen rugby league player and used the sport as a way of releasing his anger.
"I'm on the Wallabies team and I have been playing footy for six years," Ryan said.
"I took all my anger out on the other teams by tackling them."
But it was Ryan's final transition in Year 11 - to Gladstone State High School - that changed his life for the better.
"We enrolled him in the special education program," Mrs Shayler said.
"It was a completely different ball park. He would never miss a day of school."
Ryan found a group of mates, tried hard with his subjects and got a job at IGA.
Mrs Shayler said she was very emotional when Ryan graduated, feeling as though she too had graduated.
"I am so proud of him. He's held me up a lot of times," she said.
Ryan turns 18 on Sunday.
"I am very proud of myself. I pulled through it all," he said.
"I want to be a carpenter. I like hands-on stuff. I don't think my dream to be a famous football player for the Cowboys will happen," he laughed.
He recently applied for a traineeship at Gladstone Ports Authority to obtain machinery tickets.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.