Macarthur students top the class

Moksh Bhatia came first in the Investigating Science course. Picture: Chris Lane
Moksh Bhatia came first in the Investigating Science course. Picture: Chris Lane

Two Macarthur students have excelled in their schooling, taking out first in course honours in the 2021 HSC.

Hurlstone Agricultural High School's Moksh Bhatia and John Therry Catholic College's Toby Harland were both recognised in the annual First in Course list released this week.

Mr Bhatia, 18, took out Investigating Science while Mr Harland, also 18, topped Visual Arts.

Both subjects required major works, something made more difficult by their COVID-affected year.

Mr Bhatia, who lives in Guildford, said he enjoyed the freedom his course allowed in pursuing his scientific endeavours.

"Investigating Science is essentially a subject which combines the knowledge of biology, physics and chemistry," he said.

"It talks about the influence science has on society. You conduct your own research and publish it.

"I did my research on a chemistry topic for my depth study, finding the optimal volume of phenol red indicator for an acid/base titration.

"It's not something that you research and then do nothing with."

Mr Bhatia said it was a "quite amazing" feeling to come first in his course across the state.

"It's sort of hyper-realistic," he said.

"Sometimes you don't believe that you've captured this sort of moment.

"This was my last HSC exam, I was fatigued from all the other exams as well, so it was very overwhelming when I initially found out."

The teen wants to study medicine at university, and hopes to achieve a place at UNSW.

He believes the university's research capabilities would be a great fit.

"The goal is definitely to get in there and enjoy research in a clinical field," Mr Bhatia said.

He encouraged other students not to looked at their subjects in isolation, but allow them to inform and inspire other areas of study.

He said practice papers were his best study guide leading into the exams.

Toby Harland. Picture: Supplied

Toby Harland. Picture: Supplied

Mr Harland said he never expected to finish first in visual arts.

The Couridjah resident submitted a series of manipulated photos for his major work called Anonymous Anonimity, playing with perspectives and form.

"I had photographs of elderly people and distorted them in a way that they had to be viewed as a reflection in a cylindrical object to be coherent," he said.

"I saw someone do it on Google, and transformed it into my own idea. I took inspiration and applied my own life experiences and everyone's curse of age."

Mr Harland said it was a "euphoric" feeling to have his name read out among the other first in course students.

"I was really happy with the result," he said.

"Despite COVID, I've still succeeded. I didn't let that be an excuse and tried to use that 'refuse to lose' mentality."

Mr Harland said the hardest part of completing his work in a COVID year was not being able to bounce ideas off of his teachers and peers while working remotely.

He encouraged everyone to use their COVID struggles as fuel to succeed.

This story Macarthur students top the class first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.