Many high school seniors across the state were waiting with bated breath for the highly-anticipated release of SA Certificate of Education results last week, and for Waterloo's Caleb Schwartz, hard work through the year certainly paid off.
Caleb has just finished grade 12 at Faith Lutheran College, Tanunda, and was SA's only student to receive a merit for an agricultural subject, awarded for his work in agricultural systems.
While he was pleased with his result, he said the top mark had come as "a bit of a shock".
"I wasn't really expecting to receive that mark, but I did really enjoy the subject all year, and enjoying it helped me to get the grades I think," he said.
Caleb has an agricultural background, having being involved in his family's Pindari Merino sheep stud from a young age, and also immersing himself in the cropping side of the farm enterprise.
Citing "plenty of space" as one of his main reasons behind enjoying his farm upbringing, he said studying agricultural science at school - a subject he has studied since year eight - opened his eyes to parts various aspects of the industry with which he was less familiar.
"I liked the range of things we learned in the subject through the years," Caleb said.
"With my background I only knew about some of the sheep and cropping stuff, but I learned about pigs and chickens, and learned winemaking in year 10.
RELATED READING: Return buyers facilitate total Ridgway clearance
"I had never seen or been exposed to any of that, and I found it all really interesting."
This year's grade 12 ag science cohort at Faith Lutheran College was made up of about 15 students, and Caleb said the setup and structure of the subject had been excellent.
"The Faith Lutheran School ag program is fantastic, a lot of people do it and love it," he said.
"(Agricultural science teacher Bob Mitchell) is really good, I had him for three years and loved him as a teacher."
Caleb has taken up a summer harvest position with Australian Grain Technologies at Roseworthy, harvesting different trials and completing work in the glasshouse, which he is enjoying.
He is set to move onto helping out with vintage work at Moppa Vintners at Nuriootpa, upon finishing up with AGT at the end of January.
RELATED READING: SACE ag students thrive in 2020 despite difficult year
A Bachelor of Agricultural Science is Caleb's number one preference for university next year, but he is not sure what will eventuate in his future.
"I really like the sheep stud side of things with the genetics and sheep handling because it's what I've grown up with, but I'm interested in a lot of other things too," he said.
Looking back on the year, Caleb said COVID-19 had not affected his studies in any major way, with one week of online learning at home the only pandemic-related disruption during his schooling year.
Start the day with all the big news in agriculture. Sign up here to receive our daily Stock Journal newsletter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.