Strong performances in HSC across the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Students from Catholic schools across the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle performed solidly in the 2019 HSC with two making the Top Achiever list and another two making the All Rounder list. All-up, Diocesan schools achieved 182 Distinguished Achiever awards.

In a tremendous result for its first cohort of HSC students since 1992, St Joseph's College, Lochinvar received 10 Distinguished Achiever awards. As well as 10 Band 6 results, St Joseph’s students also achieved 75 Band 5s.

Distinguished Achievers are students who achieve a result in the highest band (Band 6 or Band E4) for one or more courses. This is equivalent to an HSC score of 90% or more.

St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton

Jessica Pelley and Stephanie Kelly made the Top Achiever list.

St Francis Xavier’s Assistant Principal, Dean of Studies, Colin Mulhearn, said he was most pleased with the strong representation in the upper-middle E4 and Band 5, and conversely the under-representation in Bands 1 and 2.

“A lot of the reports in the media don’t record that,” Mr Mulhearn said. “But we’re very pleased with this cohort, and especially those E4 and Band 5 results.”

Mr Mulhearn pointed out that Jessica Pelley is a Year 11 accelerated student and has now completed the HSC Studies of Religion as a Top Achiever.

“Stephanie Kelly received her Top Achiever award for Business Services, which is a VET course and dual-accredited with NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority) and AQF (the Australian Qualifications Framework),” he said.

Both Stephanie and Jessica said they were shocked by the results.

Stephanie said she plans on studying a Bachelor of Business at the University of Newcastle. “I was actually accepted two days after my HSC,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Her ATAR of 84.3 was way above the requirement and she was very happy with that.

“It was a good group to go through with at SFX and I received plenty of support from my teachers. I’m going to Melbourne for a holiday and then I’ll be basically working fulltime as a business trainee.” 

Jessica Pelley said it felt nice to know that a year of hard work had finally paid off. She will only have to study five HSC subjects next year.

Jake Harborne from St Francis Xavier’s College was named an All Rounder.

Jake received Band 6 results in five subjects, Aboriginal Studies, Society and Culture, English Advanced, Maths Standard 2, Studies of Religion 2 unit and achieved an ATAR of 95.1.

“I’m hoping to study teaching at Newcastle Uni,” said Jake. “I accepted an early offer, but this result is a relief and icing on the cake.”

All Saints’ College, St Mary’s Campus, Maitland

Gemma Hancock was named an All Rounder.

Gemma was busy laying turf for her parents on Tuesday morning, which she hoped would take her mind off waiting for her ATAR results.

“There’s no relaxing,” said the Dux of St Mary’s. But she need not have worried. Gemma achieved an ATAR of 97.7. She was hoping for 97, and required 92 to get into Veterinary Science at The University of Sydney.

St Paul’s Catholic College, Booragul

St Paul’s Catholic College, Booragul had four of its students listed as Distinguished Achievers. 

Thomas Fairleigh achieved the highest band in four subjects. They were Biology, English Advanced, Mathematics Extension 1 and Studies of Religion II. That hard work resulted in Thomas gaining an ATAR of 98.25.

Other distinguished achievers were Shayna Gael in Personal Development, Health and Physical Education, and Laura Condon and Maddison Whitbread both in French Beginners.

Principal Graeme Selmes is very proud of the Class of 2019. “Many have exceeded their own expectations,” he said. “It is clear that all students have received results that reflect 13 years of quality education and strong work ethic.

“This part of their lives is now complete. They have a world-class qualification that will hold them in good stead for their new endeavours.”

St Clare’s High School, Taree

The 2019 HSC Examination results have been very rewarding for St Clare’s High School students.

The cohort of 78 students was rewarded with 16 Band 6 and 99 Band 5 grades with outstanding results in Drama, Geography, Industrial Technology (Timber), Investigating Science, Mathematics Standard 1, Mathematics Standard 2, Physics and Construction.

Top ATARs of which the school is currently aware:

Abbey Last, 95.00, Bachelor of Engineering University of NSW

Ella Reay, 93.85, Bachelor of Science (Advanced) university (to be confirmed)

Miguel Guthridge, 92.55, Bachelor of Engineering University of NSW

Jenevieve Bawden, 91.80, E12 Sydney University

Holly Twemlow, 91.60, Bachelor of Laws/International Security Studies at Macquarie University

Elizabeth Avery, 91.40, E12 Sydney University

Principal Peter Nicolls said the results were a “fitting reflection of their efforts and dedication to their studies”. 

“I particularly want to thank our staff for their excellent teaching and our parents for the fine support that they have given their sons and daughters and St Clare’s over the past six years,” he said.  “We are proud of our students, staff and the St Clare’s tradition of achievement in the HSC, and excited for our young people as they begin the next phase of their lives.”

Jen Bawden also received a nomination for an on-stage performance.

“To be placed on the Distinguished Achievers’ list is not only a huge achievement for me and my peers, but also evidence of the hard work we put in throughout the year,” said Jen. “Of course, everyone knows Year 12 is challenging, but without the support of my peers, teachers and school I could never have made it through the countless assessments and trials throughout the year. Whenever I was met with disappointing results or a challenging task I didn’t think I could complete, I received reassurance from my teachers that it was possible. In addition to the relentless support from the peers around me and the school, I believe this is what ultimately led to our success at the conclusion of the HSC.”

Elizabeth Avery achieved three Band 6s. 

“My journey at St Clare’s has been one that I will always remember and one that has helped me develop the skill set allowing me to achieve recognition on the Distinguished Achievers’ list," Elizabeth said. "I was particularly humbled with this as I feel that both I and my teachers put in a lot of extra time and effort in these subjects, English and Drama, to assist me in reaching this high standard. I would like to thank all of my teachers at St Clare’s for their guidance and support, but would also like to recognise Mr Howard and Mrs Busby for the effort they put into classes and the extra time they spent going above and beyond.”

St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen

Seven students at St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen were listed as Distinguished Achievers. 

Nikola Holz received the highest band in Business Studies, Chloe Hollingsworth in Community and Family Studies, Breanna Cox in Legal Studies, and Caitlin Byron and Macy Collins in Music 1. 

One student, Caitlin Brown, achieved the highest band for three subjects. They were Biology, Mathematics, and Visual Arts. Caitlin received the highest ATAR for the school of 94.8.

Matilda Main, distinguished achiever in two subjects, Community and Family Studies and Studies of Religion I, was very happy with her results.

“It is not about the number, it is the sense of pride and achievement and the excitement I feel about my future,” said Matilda.

That future for Matilda includes study at Macquarie University in Archaeology.

Principal Robert Holstein said he was exceptionally proud of all the students’ HSC results. “Especially, the seven students who achieved 10 Band 6s in eight different subjects,” he said. “This is an indication of the incredible hard work and dedication of our students and teaching staff.

“Congratulations to all our students for completing the HSC and we wish them every success in the future.”

St Catherine’s Catholic College, Singleton

Two students received Distinguished Achiever awards in the subject of Music. They were Byron Fletcher and Noah Adamthwaite.

Byron said he was very happy with his results and has been accepted to study a Bachelor of Music Theatre at Elder Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide.

Noah said his result “is very significant in being able to follow my passion of musical theatre”.

He has been accepted to study next year at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) Sydney and said he hopes “to perform on stage and broaden my knowledge of the performing arts”.

St Mary’s Catholic College, Gateshead

St Mary’s, Gateshead, principal Larry Keating described his college’s first HSC results as outstanding.

Some of the key achievements included:

  • five students applied for and received early offers of placement at their university of choice, and based on results gained there is an expectation of a significant number of offers to follow once students know their ATARs
  • students achieved above the state average for combined Bands 4, 5 and 6 for 16 of the 27 courses the college offered
  • 100% of the cohort in eight of the courses achieved in the top 3 bands
  • Significantly, not one student received an HSC course mark under 50.

“You cannot expect to measure the success of 13 years of schooling with a single score, such as an ATAR,” Mr Keating said. “This is especially the case in the circumstances where students walk a different and much more challenging path to gain their HSC. This was the reality for the small group of students comprising our first HSC class.

“These students chose courage. They chose to stake their senior education on what is to be rather than stake their comfort, their security and the future direction of their education on what was established, certain and secure. As the college’s first HSC class, Year 12 (2019), made a choice to seed the present so that others, who follow, may reap the best of what they have sowed. They have set a standard that will see the college maturing rapidly into an outstanding Year 7 to 12 Catholic institution.”

A full list of the HSC awards are listed below.

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