ON TRACK: Alstonville Year 12 students (from left) Will Maxwell, 18, Elise McCarthy, 17, Matt Goldie, 18, and Keely Gordon-King, 18, are relieved after breaking the HSC ‘ice’ with their English exam.
ON TRACK: Alstonville Year 12 students (from left) Will Maxwell, 18, Elise McCarthy, 17, Matt Goldie, 18, and Keely Gordon-King, 18, are relieved after breaking the HSC ‘ice’ with their English exam. DAVID NIELSEN

In plain english, it was a relief

THE Higher School Certificate hit full stride on its second day yesterday, with all NSW students sitting the first compulsory English exam.

About 130 Alstonville High School students took to the school gymnasium to flex their cerebral muscles and settle their nerves ahead of two to four weeks of intense exams.

They join almost 70,000 Year 12 students across the State undertaking exams in 750 centres in NSW, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The group is the largest to ever complete Year 12 in NSW, demonstrating the NSW Government's plan to retain school students is working.

Year 12 advisor Steph O'Brien has counselled and supported the Alstonville group since their first year of high school and had mixed emotions as they prepared to undertake their final test before spreading their wings.

“I'm nervous but confident for them. They are a really good group,” she said.

“They were this amazing big swarming mass of confident, exuberant kids. Then over the years they've become this loving, united group.

“These guys are the 'bumper year'. They were the biggest year we've had here. I think they were 200-strong in Year 7.

“It's like watching your babies grow up and leave home. They're heading to universities all over the country and as far away as New Zealand. A couple of my boys have apprenticeships secured already and some are heading to the Canadian snowfields to work in their winter.”

Matt Goldie, 18, Elise McCarthy, 17, Will Maxwell, 18, and Keely Gordon-King, 18, were all relieved to have broken the exam ice and were keen to get stuck into the rest of the program.

“It was good to get the ball rolling, there was no writer's block,” Matt said.

“Yeah, it was okay, just what I had expected,” Keely agreed.

While most of the group was looking to complete the exams in the fortnight, Keely's choices of subjects see her exams spread over four weeks.

“I must have picked the wrong subjects,” she laughed.

All four are looking forward to what lies ahead and will head off to Schoolies Week as soon as they finish.



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