Four Macarthur students earn First in Course accolade

Top of the class: Madeleine Leehy, Julia Kokic, Bianca Ritter and Bailey Wray all topped their respective subjects. Picture: Jess Layt
Top of the class: Madeleine Leehy, Julia Kokic, Bianca Ritter and Bailey Wray all topped their respective subjects. Picture: Jess Layt

HSC students in Macarthur are a brainy bunch – and they’ve got the results to prove it.

The Board of Studies today awarded the 120 NSW students who topped their subjects in the Higher School Certificate, and four of them are from Macarthur schools.

Teens from Elderslie High School, Mount Carmel Catholic College, Magdalene Catholic High School and Macarthur Anglican School all took first place in their respective courses.

Bianca Ritter, from Varroville’s Mount Carmel, blitzed the Construction Examination course.

The 18-year-old said she was interested in interior design and project management and wanted to break the stigma that construction was for boys.

“I developed an interest in the construction at the end of year 10,” she said.

“There are lots of stereotypes surrounding the course and I was the only girl in my class.

“But the subject was connected to what I want to do as a career and had a lot of practical, real-world challenges for me.”

Bianca said she was determined to prove that girls could be just as successful as boys in construction.

“It was challenging in the practical parts of the course, because there was things like lifting that were hard,” the Eagle Vale resident said.

“But I got through it all and I must have done just as good as the boys because I topped the course.”

Bianca plans on taking some time off before heading to university. She hopes to get some on-the-job experience and work placement to further her career.

She has some advice for other people, especially girls, taking the construction course next year.

“Don’t let the challenges get the better of you,” she said.

“Give it 100 per cent and don’t be worried about the stigmas and stereotypes.

“Girls can do just as well as the boys in construction.”

Bianca Ritter

Bianca Ritter

Macarthur Anglican School’s Julia Kokic blitzed the Indonesian languages subjects, taking out both Indonesian Extension and Indonesian Continuers.

The 17-year-old said it was a tough task studying for the subjects as she was not a native speaker of the language.

“I never thought I would do this well, quite the opposite actually,” she said.

“I came out of my first aural exam crying because I thought I’d failed the whole thing.

“I set really high expectations for myself.

“When I found out I had topped both courses I was ecstatic.”

Julia picked up Indonesian when she started year seven at the Cobbitty school.

She said a trip to the Asian country in 2015 solidified her interest in the language and inspired her to continue the subjects in her senior years.

The Wattle Grove resident said her great result was not just representative of her own hard work, but that of her class as well.

“I’m really proud of this because we all worked so hard together as a class,” she said.

“I would advise languages students to lean on their classmates if they can and work together.

“Also, really take in the media of the country’s language – watch their movies and listen to their music.

“If you can, find a native speaker and help you out with the nuances.”

Julia plans on studying Indonesian and politics at the University of Sydney, which will require at ATAR result of 95.

Julia Kokic

Julia Kokic

Elderslie High School student Madeleine Leehy took first place in the Business Services Examination.

The 18-year-old said she choice the subject as she was keen to get some real-world experience in business management.

“I wanted to develop life skills that I could apply in the real world,” she said.

“One of the best things about the course was picking up maths skills that are applicable in a lot of real-life situations.”

Madeleine said it took a lot of hard work and determination to achieve a course-topping result.

“You’re really got to put the work in at home at well, it can’t all just be at school,” she said.

The Grasmere resident is keeping her options open for further study, but is interested in the field of psychology.

Madeleine Leehy

Madeleine Leehy

Magdalene Catholic High School student Bailey Wray was the best Standard English HSC student in the state.

The 18-year-old said he was told it would be difficult to achieve a good HSC result in Standard English and was encouraged instead to take Advanced English.

But he was determined to do well in what he described as ‘not his strongest subject’ and worked hard at his studies.

That hard work payed off for the Mount Annan resident.

“It was a pretty amazing feeling when I found out,” he said.

“It’s not something I ever expected.”

Bailey said he particularly enjoyed the creative writing aspect of the paper, but found the time restraints the most challenging part.

He encouraged next year’s HSC students to study hard and utilise their best resources.

“Just make use of your teachers, there are so many good teachers out there who want to help you and want you to do well,” he said.

The teen will attend the University of Wollongong next year after achieving an early admission to study science and education.

He is chasing his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.

Bailey Wray

Bailey Wray

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