It represents the first year since 1992 students from the college have taken the exam, and with a mixed-gender cohort to boot.
The Sisters of St Joseph established the school in 1883, and the one-story brick building erected in 1911 remains as part of the Creative and Performing Arts Centre.
After fully registering under the Bursary Endowment Act in 1920, the college over the next 50 years became a highly regarded boarding school for girls, preparing students for the intermediate and leaving certificates. The college earned a reputation for its academic standards, with many students gaining university bursaries, Commonwealth, and teachers’ college scholarships.
As extensions continued, St Joseph’s became known as one of the leading independent Catholic Colleges for female boarding and day students. In the mid-1970s, the Sisters agreed that the college become part of a system of schools managed by the Diocese of Maitland. In 1992, St Joseph’s amalgamated with St Peter’s and St Mary’s Maitland to form All Saints’ College.
This structure remained in place until 2018, when the college returned to its single identity of St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar. Current girl college captain Isabella Crebert says she feels a sense of history.
“It’s a special opportunity,” Isabella said. “I’ve been here since Year 7 and mum (Rebecca, nee Berry) attended here as well when it was an all-girls’ school, so it’s nice to have that heritage as well.”
Isabella wasn’t nervy for the HSC openers.
“I feel pretty good, I’m well prepared for English on Thursday and Friday,” she said. “It’s one of my better subjects.”
Usually the parents are more apprehensive than the children.
“Mum’s not too worried about how I’ll perform because she knows I’ve studied non-stop,” Isabella said. “She wants me to get the results I’ve been working for.”
And as for St Joseph’s wonderful tradition of education.
“My teachers have been excellent all the way through and that level of support is a big reason I stayed at St Joseph’s,” she said.
Isabella hopes to do a double degree in law and social science as a springboard into child welfare and criminology.
St Joseph’s Principal Patricia Hales says the college’s Year 12 teachers have watched their students question and learn with great dedication and commitment.
“The reality of the first HSC group since 1992 will be indelibly marked on Thursday when our 56 Year 12 students sit for their first HSC Examination,” Mrs Hales said.
“There is such anticipation in the HSC yet it is the individuals who count — the HSC examination cannot measure the growth, the challenges or the strength of these young people who are so intimately known and loved by the community of St Joseph’s, however we recognise and acknowledge this very significant step that will ultimately lead to a life beyond school.”
In a recent Year 12 exit survey, a student wrote, “The senior class teachers have been incredible over the past year, each of them has encouraged me and given me so many resources in order to achieve my best. I have developed positive relationships that have allowed me to fully trust and have faith in my teachers. All of them have been passionate and want the best for their students.”
Mrs Hales noted, “Perhaps this is the HSC.”