We sure breed them smart in Macarthur.
Five local students have blitzed the competition and recorded first places in five Higher School Certificate subjects this year.
Teens from Broughton Anglican College, Macarthur Anglican School, Mount Carmel Catholic College and Elderslie High School all received certificates for their HSC First in Course results in a ceremony held at UNSW today.
Elderslie produced two of the brainy kids, in Lachlan Willingham and Hannah Jenkins.
Lachlan topped Mathematics General 2 (along with nine other students across the state) and Hannah took out Textiles and Design.
Lachlan said he was exceptionally proud that his school produced two first in course winners in 2018.
“I love that our little school managed this result against all the private schools and colleges in the state,” he said.
“I’ve known Hannah since pre-school so it’s pretty incredible that we’ve tracked this well together throughout the years.”
The 18-year-old said maths was his “escape subject” in the HSC, the course he slipped into to get away from content heavy classes like legal studies, English and ancient history.
He said he revised his notes every Monday during the final term of year 12 and the study technique clearly paid off.
“I would advise other students to do every past paper they can,” he said.
“I went through every one that was available at the NESA website and I found there were a lot of questions on similar themes that kept popping up, so I knew they would be in my exam.
“Also, remember what you were taught in Year 11, because they do test you on that.”
The Camden resident is looking to study law and international studies at university.
Hannah achieved her brilliant result through her “unique” textiles and design major work – a hat inspired by the 1910s.
“I don’t think many other people created a hat which probably worked in my favour,” she said.
“I’ve always been interested in sewing and drawing and creating things.
“I had to do a lot of research about the 1910 time period, but I also studied modern history, so that helped a lot.”
In addition to her textile major work, the 18-year-old also completed a major work for Extension 2 English.
She said it was great to be able to balance a theoretical work with a practical work, so she never got bored.
The Picton resident hopes to study conservation biology at university.
“Having grown up on a farm, I understand the effect industry has had on the environment, which is why I’m interested in conservation biology,” she said.
Mount Carmel’s Grace Roodenrys achieved the enviable result of best in English Advanced, while Broughton Anglican School’s Madison Brown topped Community and Family Studies.
Seventeen-year-old Grace said she was initially in “disbelief” that she had beaten all other students to take out the English Advanced course.
“I’m pretty elated, to tell you the truth,” she said.
“It was a little bit difficult to fathom at first but I sacrificed and put so much time into my studies that it is a great gratification for hard work.”
The Bradbury resident said she was proud to have shone a light on the efforts of western Sydney students.
“There can be a perception out there that no matter how well you do in western Sydney, there’s always going to be 20 people from inner city schools who are better than you,” she said.
“This just proves with hard work and dedication, that’s not the case.
“I put in five or six hours of study a night and that effort paid off.”
Grace said next year’s HSC students needed to “be prepared to do the work” and “challenge themselves” to achieve great results.
“To use a sporting analogy, if you’re lifting the same weight every day, you’re not going to get any better or make an improvements,” she said.
“You have to keep upping the ante and challenging yourself – that’s the only way you will improve.”
She plans to student law and arts at the University of Sydney.
Madison, 18, said it was a “surreal feeling” to have come first in the CAFS course.
“I don’t quite believe it but at the same time it’s a great reward for all the hard work I’ve put in throughout the year,” she said.
“I did a lot of practice papers and really went through the syllabus to make sure I understood everything.
“I want to give a massive shout out to my teacher, Mrs Melinda Sharpe, who was a great mentor for me this year.”
The Harrington Park resident said CAFS was one of her favourite HSC subjects and she chose it for the practical elements of the course.
“I want to go into primary teaching, so the practical people-based aspects of CAFS appealed to me,” she said.
“I have applied for a primary teaching course at the University of Wollongong.”
Claudia Petrin made it two years running for Macarthur Anglican School to secure an Indonesian Extension first in course result.
The 17-year-old said the school was a great support in her studies.
“I felt so supported not just by my teachers and fellow students, but all the Indonesian teachers and past students as well,” she said.
“Julia Kokich, who was first in course for Indonesian Extension and Continuers last year, was so helpful to me this year, and gave me lots of notes and offered to help me with speaking.”
The Leppington resident said she thought knowledge of a foreign language was a hugely valuable skill for Australians to possess.
“Especially given we a such a multicultural society it makes sense to be able to communicate with one of our closest neighbours,” she said.
Claudia encouraged all languages students to “stick with it” and draw on their peers for support.
She has achieved conditional early entry into a Bachelor of Arts/Global and International Studies at the University of Sydney, which she hopes to roll into a career as a translator.
The achievements of the five students continue Macarthur’s HSC success.
A full list of the 2018 first in course recipients can be found here.