HSC students cross the finish line
It is pens down today for the 2020 Higher School Certificate with Design and Technology and Drama students sitting their final written exams this afternoon.
In what was a year of many ‘firsts’ for students of all year levels right across the state, students completing year 12 this year have faced challenges unlike any year before them.
Over the past three weeks, HSC students have sat 120 exams in venues that looked a little bit different from other years.
St Marys Senior High School had the largest cohort of students completing their HSC at a public school in NSW this year with 453 students.
Principal Sally Smithard said the preparation for this year’s exams was unlike previous years.
“To meet the COVID-19 guidelines, we needed 30 exam rooms to accommodate the 453 students completing their exams this year,” Ms Smithard said.
“There was an incredible amount of planning required to ensure this year’s exams ran seamlessly.
“Our deputy principal worked tirelessly during the holiday period to ensure students were set up to complete their exams in the most positive and safe environment as possible.
“Given the size of the cohort and the number of exam rooms, we needed to find additional invigilators who required training in the lead up to the exams.
“The department also organised a deep clean to be completed in each of the rooms where exams took place.”
It was not just the year 12 students who had to adapt, year 11 students also had to make some changes during the exam period.
“To accommodate the increased number of exams rooms, our year 11 students had to go back into their remote learning environments during the English and Mathematics exams to ensure we were complying with the health guidelines.
“We even established a QR code system that notified year 11 students about changes within the school to ensure we had streamlined and up-to-date communication going out at all times.”
Despite the changes to schooling and impacts that COVID-19 has had on the entire education system this year, Ms Smithard said the exams ran according to plan.
“Today we have our final 30 or so students completing their drama and design and technology exams and I am so incredibly proud of the way in which our students have conducted themselves.
“This year’s cohort have demonstrated their ability to adapt and respond positively in the face of adversity and as a principal, I couldn’t be more proud.
“The skills our students have learnt this year will assist them well into the future; they have learnt about dealing with a situation that is harsh and unfair but carried themselves well and just got on with the job.”
Students from St Marys Senior High School will graduate tomorrow with the delayed formal to be held next week, something that until recently may not have been achievable.
Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the Class of 2020 had demonstrated extraordinary resilience this year.
“This has been a year like no other, and I am sure teachers and families will join with me as we congratulate all HSC students for the way they handled themselves during a challenging time,” she said.
Ms Mitchell also thanked schools and parents for the support they had provided to Year 12 students
“Thank you to our school communities for all that you have done this year to ensure students could continue learning and for keeping students safe and healthy,” she said.
Marking is already under way as students await their results, which will be received via SMS and email on Friday 18 December.
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