Newcastle’s Merewether High School was the most successful non-Sydney based school to feature among the HSC honours announced this week.
The learning hub in Broadmeadow secured two 2020 First in Course awards, making it one of 71 NSW public schools to take home top honours.
In addition to two First in Course achievers, the school received 11 state rankings, 12 all rounders and 290 distinguished achievers.
Year 12 student Mackenzie Gilligan was ranked second in Physics and 16th in Chemistry, Cas Masia was third in Engineering Studies, Martyn Cox was named eighth in Software Design and Development, Kimberley Huang was eighth in Food Tech, Charlie Beddall was ninth in Mathematics Advanced, Chris Beck was 10th in Physics and 13th Chemistry, and Liam Prince was 20th in Chemistry.
The school’s principal Rochelle Dooley, who has been in the role for just eight weeks, said seven of the 172 HSC students who sat their exams had received an ATAR over 99 including Mackenzie Gilligan, Jeremy Burns, Liam Prince, Harrison Lack, James Punch, Will McCombe and Martyn Cox.
“In what has been such a challenging year, this year’s group have proven themselves to be a determined and resilient group, and by that I mean the students and the staff,” she said.
“They’ve worked really hard and their passion for learning and their dedication has been remarkable.”
Among the high achievers across the state was Sariena Ye from James Ruse Agricultural High School, who became only the fourth person since 1991 to secure first place in both Chemistry and Physics – and the first female in 27 years to top both subjects.
NSW Education Secretary Mark Scott congratulated the winners and paid tribute to every student that had completed their HSC in 2020.
“Those students who received a First in Course – and their families – should be rightly proud of their achievements,” he said.
“Considering the particular challenges of 2020, we are extremely proud of every student that has shown the determination and resilience to achieve their best and finish their HSC.
“They now leave school with the skills to embark upon a successful life, no matter what they choose next.”
Public school students secured First in Course across a range of subject areas including, among others, three of the five mathematics and English courses, chemistry and physics, science extension, Aboriginal studies, economics, ancient history, languages and visual arts.
“Our success in the HSC is also a tribute to the quality of teaching and dedication of staff in supporting our students during their final year of schooling,” Mr Scott said.
The First in Course winners this year came from a wider selection of schools with James Ruse Agricultural High School the most successful school overall, securing six First in Course positions.
Alongside dual winner Sariena Ye, Fort Street High School student Eszter Coombs secured three First in Course positions for English Extension 2, Spanish continuers and Spanish extension, and Chae-Weon Lee from Conservatorium High School was first in Music Extension and German beginners.
In languages, the NSW School of Languages had eight First in Course winners and the Saturday School of Community Languages had 20 first places.
Maria Kontou from the Saturday School of Community Languages was also a dual winner in languages, securing First in Course for Modern Greek Continuers and Modern Greek Extension.