Our public school students are top class

The HSC First in Course list shows public school students winning across a breadth of subjects.

17 December 2020
Portrait of Sariena Ye
Image: Sariena Ye came first place in chemistry and physics.

Public school students have again dominated the HSC honours securing 71 of the 126 First in Course awards announced today.

Among the high achievers, Sariena Ye from James Ruse Agricultural High School became only the fourth person since 1991 to secure first place in both Chemistry and Physics – and the first female in 27 years to top both subjects.

NSW Education Secretary Mark Scott congratulated the winners and also paid tribute to every student that had completed their HSC in 2020.

“Those students who received a First in Course – and their families - should be rightly proud of their achievements,” Mr Scott said.

“Considering the particular challenges of 2020, we are extremely proud of every student that has shown the determination and resilience to achieve their best and finish their HSC.

“They now leave school with the skills to embark upon a successful life, no matter what they choose next.”

Sariena said she had stayed motivated and driven to do her best because chemistry and physics were her favourite subjects.

“I was incredibly lucky to have the support of my family, friends and teachers this year, especially when things were so uncertain,” she said.

James Ruse Agricultural High School principal Rachel Powell said the whole school community had worked to support students throughout the uncertainty of 2020.

“The students are all very supportive of each other and their hard work along with the contributions from teachers and parents has led them to success,” Ms Powell said.

Public school students secured First in Course across a range of subject areas including, among others, three of the five mathematics and English courses, chemistry and physics, science extension, Aboriginal studies, economics, ancient history, languages and visual arts.

Mr Scott said the diversity of subjects topped by public school students showed NSW Education was committed to quality education across all fields of endeavour.

“Our success in the HSC is also a tribute to the quality of teaching and dedication of staff in supporting our students during their final year of schooling.”

The First in Course winners this year came from a wider selection of schools with James Ruse Agricultural High School the most successful school overall, securing six First in Course positions.

Merewether High School in Newcastle was the most successful non-Sydney based school securing two First in Course awards along with Burwood Girls High School, Conservatorium High School, Fort Street High School, North Sydney Boys High School, North Sydney Girls High School and Sydney Girls High School.

Alongside dual winner Sariena Ye, Fort Street High School student Eszter Coombs secured three First in Course positions for English Extension 2, Spanish continuers and Spanish extension and Chae-Weon Lee from Conservatorium High School was first in Music Extension and German beginners.

In languages, the NSW School of Languages had eight First in Course winners and the Saturday School of Community Languages had 20 first places.

Maria Kontou from the Saturday School of Community Languages was also a dual winner in languages securing First in Course for Modern Greek Continuers and Modern Greek Extension.

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