Smiles abound as students conquer HSC against the odds

Flood-affected schools have shown their deep resilience in the face of disaster recording strong HSC results. Dani Cooper reports.

Image: Small but powerful: The HSC Class of 2022 at Lindfield Learning Village

They’ve endured some of the worst weather this year since Australia has kept records, but students in northern NSW did not let that dampen their commitment to excel in the HSC.

With the release of HSC results today, Mullumbimby High School made it into the top 20 comprehensive high schools, leaping almost 400 places to now rank in the State’s top 150 schools.

Principal Greg Armstrong said he was exceptionally proud of his HSC students.

“Our Year 12s have been really determined with their schoolwork; they have worked incredibly hard despite so many challenges,” he said.

“It’s really good to see the students are actually smiling today; they’re grinning actually.

“We haven’t seen many smiles from many of them this year.”

Nearby, the three campuses of The Rivers Secondary College had 15 students on the Distinguished Achievers list – two from the Kadina High Campus, four from the Lismore High Campus and nine from the Richmond River High Campus.

Among those was Richmond River’s Niamh Montgomery, who was also named an All Rounder for 2022.

Department of Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson congratulated the State’s HSC students, their teachers and families.

“We are so proud of our students today, whether they’re from a small rural school or one of our large city schools, these great results show the diversity of public education and the quality of our teachers,” she said.

In Sydney, it has only taken two HSC cohorts for Lindfield Learning Village to muscle its way into the State’s top 100 schools.

Principal Stephanie McConnell was over the moon about the news, attributing the result to the “powerful relationships” between teachers and students.

“It’s a brilliant endorsement of what we’ve been doing for the past four years,” Ms McConnell said.

“This is only our second HSC cohort and it demonstrates that our educational model translates into great HSC results and highlights that deep thinking and knowledge that can flow from powerful relationships between our students and their teachers.”

Lindfield Learning Village is a comprehensive, K-12 school that opened in January 2019.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s list of high achieving HSC schools does not include any schools with less than 30 students in their HSC cohort. Lindfield had 28 students sitting the HSC this year. However, an internal analysis by the NSW Department of Education put Lindfield Learning Village as 96th in the State.

Among the cohort was one of the youngest HSC students, 14-year-old Katherine Lowbeer, who received the top bands in both extension 1 and 2 maths.

Killara High was the state’s best-performing comprehensive public school, coming in at 55th in the State. It is the school’s best result in at least seven years.

Principal Robin Chand said as a public comprehensive school, diversity was its strength.

“Results are not important,” he said. “Relationships are important, because relationships unleash potential and this allows students to change the world.”

He said the school had “maintained a laser-like focus on student learning and wellbeing” alongside a commitment to explicit and research-based teaching.

Mr Chand paid tribute to his staff, who he said went above and beyond to ensure no student fell behind.

“It doesn’t matter what school you attend, it matters who teaches you, because it’s the teacher team that unleashes a child’s potential,” he said.

Ariah Park Central School in the Riverina had three Year 12 students receive their results today and principal Allan Johnston said all staff were very proud.

“It was great to see our students receive their results today after all their hard work in 2022,” he said.

“One of our students, Jack Speirs, is on the Distinguished Achiever’s list for receiving two Band 6 results in Agriculture and Design and Technology.

“This is an impressive result for Jack who has been with us since kindergarten.”

Fifteen students from Armidale Secondary College featured on the Distinguished Achiever’s list, thanks to a strong showing in the higher-level Mathematics subjects. These included accelerated students in Years 10 and 11 who received the top bands in Mathematics Advanced and Extension 1.

For the 27th year in a row, James Ruse Agricultural High School was the best-performing school in the State with fellow selective schools North Sydney Boys (2), Baulkham Hills (3) and North Sydney Girls (4) dominating the top five.

Among the other successful comprehensive schools was Willoughby Girls (66), Epping Boys (68) and Cherrybrook Technology High (81).

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