THE three Hunter students who topped their courses in the Higher School Certificate this year were from public high schools – and they excelled in vocational subjects.
Scone High student Nicholas Hall came first in electrotechnology, Maitland Grossmann student Joshua Clements topped the entertainment industry exam and Merewether High student Emily Richardson was first in the hospitality exam.
The three were honoured at a special ceremony in Sydney yesterday.
Mr Hall travelled to the Hunter TAFE campus at Muswellbrook each week to do electrotechnology and chose the subject so he could follow in his father’s footsteps.
He plans to study electrical engineering next year at the University of Newcastle.
Mr Clements, an Australian music fan, plans to move to Sydney next year to study entertainment business management and one day wants to work for a record label.
‘‘I was expecting a good mark but nowhere near the top of the state,’’ he said.
Emily Richardson wants to study speech pathology next year but said studying hospitality would help her work through university in her part-time jobs at Oporto and a Chinese restaurant.
Ms Richardson said she decided a week out from the hospitality exam she wanted to top the state and set about writing detailed summaries over 20 hours to do so.
‘‘When I came out of the exam I thought there was only about three marks that I had missed,’’ she said.
Samantha Jones, a student at Brisbane Water Secondary College’s Woy Woy campus, said her first place in Human Services was lucky, as she did not take a notebook to class.
The new subject had relatively low enrolments and few sat the exam.
She said the subject, run through the Gosford campus of Hunter TAFE, helped her realise that a career in health was not for her and she plans to pursue teaching instead.
‘‘It was a good learning experience,’’ she said.
St Peter’s Catholic College Tuggerah student Samantha Opperman came equal first in general mathematics.
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said the awards were a recognition of students’ perseverance.
Sydney Grammar School student Mischa Davenport came first in a record four subjects statewide – Italian continuers and extension, French extension and German extension.
Individual results available online, by text message and telephone from 6am
ATARs (Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranks) released
IN TOMORROW’S HERALD
20-page HSC Honour Roll plus how your school fared