HSC over: Hunter students celebrate the start of new adventure

All over: Lara Hayden and Ollie Ashton after the drama exam, which followed a compulsory group performance and individual project submitted earlier this year.
All over: Lara Hayden and Ollie Ashton after the drama exam, which followed a compulsory group performance and individual project submitted earlier this year.

NEWCASTLE High students felt a mix of relief and wistfulness as they heard “pens down” in the last Higher School Certificate exam of 2017, bringing to an end 13 years of discipline and deadlines.

Students Lara Hayden and Ollie Ashton, both 18, were among the 4716 NSW students to sit the 90 minute drama paper on Tuesday afternoon, which required them to write two essays.

“I’m feeling relieved but sentimental,” Lara said.

“I haven’t processed yet that we’ll never be back at school again. But I want to see what adventures come next – there’s so much out there.”

Ollie said she was “sad – especially seeing messages from teachers saying they’ll cherish the memories of our class – but super excited”.

The class wrote their first essay on dramatic traditions in Australia and had to make reference to Alex Buzo’s Norm and Ahmed and David Williamson’s The Removalists.

They wrote their second essay on multi-discipline theatre and had to make reference to Simon Mc Burney and Theatre de Complicite.

The girls said the questions were more specific than expected and it was hard to tie The Removalists into the first answer. 

“Drama is never black and white, it’s grey –  so what you write might not be the answer they’re looking for,” Lara said.

Both planned to celebrate with a pub crawl.

Ollie plans to work on Hamilton Island and save enough money to buy a van and drive around Australia. Lara is considering an electrician apprenticeship during a gap year and hopes to eventually study paramedicine.