Accolades for outstanding students

The 2014 Higher School Certificate saw 1,090 diocesan Year 12 students complete their secondary schooling credential. The results celebrate the diversity and depth of excellence of these young people.

Unlike the other twelve years of schooling, the HSC school year presents students with a highly demanding work environment that combines a rigorous school-based assessment schedule with external, state-wide examinations. To each and every student who completed this credential, we offer our congratulations. Appreciation is also expressed to the families and teachers of these students for supporting them through this most challenging of times.

Each year, the appeal of Vocational (VET) courses is evident. In 2014 student numbers for VET courses were as follows: Building & Construction (80), Metals & Engineering (78), Electrotechnology (31) Hospitality (119), Retail (37), Business Services (51), Primary Industries (6), Entertainment (19), Information & Digital Technology (16), Furniture Making (5) and Sport Coaching (55).

Indigenous student Cameron McDonnell from St Francis Xavier’s College Hamilton attained first place in the diocese in Geography and Earth & Environmental Science, as well as the rank of sixth in the State for Earth & Environmental Science. 

It is also important to recognise that our highest achievers in the 2014 cohort came from schools across the diocese.

Dux of the Diocese was awarded to Michael Williams, 98.75, from St Francis Xavier’s, Hamilton, who will study physiotherapy at the University of Newcastle.

Michael was happy to say a few words at the presentation ceremony:

“I feel very privileged and am obviously very pleased to have received this award, mostly because it allows me to look back on my final year of school with a sense of accomplishment. It has also shown me personally what can be achieved with consistent effort and a desire to improve as an individual in whatever you do. The HSC was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced and I owe a large number of people thanks....

“...the teachers from St Joseph’s Primary School Charlestown, St Mary’s High School Gateshead and ...St Francis Xavier’s College...were so proficient in engaging me as a student and always provided support and advice throughout my time there. It was clearly evident that they enjoyed what they did and this was reflected in their eagerness to develop all of their students, ultimately making the entire experience of the HSC less stressful.”

Other distinguished achievers included:

Alisha Brown (98.55) from St Joseph’s Aberdeen. Alisha will continue her studies at the University of Sydney (Bachelor of Arts, Media & Communication).

Bronte Linich (98.45) from St Francis Xavier’s Hamilton. Bronte will study combined Business/Commerce degrees at the University of Newcastle.

Joseph Gurr (98.40) from St Mary’s Campus, All Saints College. Joseph will pursue combined Mathematics/Science degrees at the University of Newcastle.

Tanith King (98.35) from St Clare’s Taree. Tanith will be following her love of classical studies with a Bachelor of Ancient History at Macquarie University.

Presentations were also made to students who gained awards in religious literacy.

The Bishops of NSW and the ACT in their Pastoral Letter “Catholic Schools at a Crossroads” in 2007 described  Catholic Religious Literacy as ‘having the knowledge and understanding of the core teachings of our faith, our scriptures, history and tradition, and how they are lived in the world’.

They continued by setting out their expectations that, by their end of their schooling, our students should have a knowledge and understanding of what it means to be truly Catholic.

The bishops went on to say that appropriate assessment in Catholic religious literacy was a requirement for all Catholic schools as part of the teaching and learning taking place in Religious Education. This has been occurring annually in our diocesan schools since 2010.

It is the expectation of the bishops that schools ensure that students achieve high levels of Catholic religious literacy.

The primary and secondary students and schools who receive these awards today are examples of this excellence and are a testament to the great work being done in our schools and RE classrooms by Primary Religious Education Co-ordinators, Secondary Religious Studies Co-ordinators and the Religion teachers in our diocese.

Awards were presented to the top students in both Primary and Secondary and to those schools whose overall achievement in Religious literacy was outstanding in 2014.

The first of these awards are for the students and the school who achieved the highest results in the primary Religious Literacy test in 2014.

First place in the Primary Religious Literacy test and winner of the award for overall student achievement: Seraphina Angeli from St James’ Primary School Kotara

The students who achieved equal second place in the Primary Religious Literacy Test and only one mark behind Seraphina are Erin Meagher (St Francis Xavier’s Primary School, Belmont) and Antonia Amato (Holy Name Primary School, Forster).

The most outstanding all-round achievement in Religious Literacy (Primary) goes to the school which not only had the highest overall average in the diocese in 2014 but has been the top performing school in the Yr 6 RL test for the last three years: St James’ Primary School, Kotara.

The students who achieved equal first place in the Stage 5 RL test in 2014 and who receive the award for outstanding student achievement are Eliza Cook from St Pius X High School, Adamstown and Paris Slade from St Joseph’s Campus , All Saints College, Lochinvar.

The award for the most outstanding all-round achievement in Religious Literacy (Secondary), the school with not only the highest overall average in the diocese in the Stage 5 RL test 2014 but was also the highest overall average in RL in the Yr 8 diocesan assessment in the same year is St Catherine’s Catholic College Singleton.

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Gerard Mowbray

Gerard Mowbray is Assistant Director at the Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.