A year like no other, but Red Bend Class of 2020 is HSC-ready

Red Bend Catholic College students Olivia Beasley, Jacinta McManus, Antez Varghese and James Barnes are prepared for this year's HSC.
Red Bend Catholic College students Olivia Beasley, Jacinta McManus, Antez Varghese and James Barnes are prepared for this year's HSC.

It hasn't been an easy year with the spectre of Covid-19, but despite the restrictions and temporary shut-downs, thousands of year 12 students will soon be sitting the Higher School Certificate exams.

The Advocate sat down with several students from Red Bend Catholic College to talk about what the HSC has in store for them and how they've prepared while facing Covid-related restrictions.

The students admitted that the HSC has always been hard and nerve-wracking, but this year has certainly had an element of unpredictability and uncertainty.

While they may have had to spend part of past two terms studying and learning from home, the students agreed that the teachers were on top of the situation.

Olivia Beasley said her schedule didn't vary too much from the norm because each school day usually started at 9am - like it would face-to-face - with Google meetings with their teachers.

"The teachers made it a lot easier, they were onto it," Antez Verghese said.

James Barnes agreed that support from the teachers had been amazing, particularly seeing as the sudden shift from the classroom to online and remote learning was a first for them as well.

While motivation may have taken a hit for some students working from home, for others like Olivia Beasley working from home didn't make too much difference.

Ms Beasley said that since she didn't have to travel to school from Grenfell during the shut down period, she had more time.

"I actually enjoyed it, to be honest. I had a set routine and stayed motivated," she said.

That wasn't the case for everyone as the uncertainty took its toll, but there was support from both their teachers and their peers and that made a massive difference, Mr Varghese said.

The HSC is set to start in late October and Jacinta McManus says it's coming up fast - and it is a bit nerve-wracking.

"It was always going to be a hard year, we were always going to have to work hard and stay motivated," Ms Beasley said.

"It's just that little bit extra [stress] over that time we missed at school.

"I think we just have to work harder."

While they may be studying for their exams under slightly different conditions from previous years, all of the students agreed that using practise questions and looking at practise papers has been useful for their preparation.

Red Bend Catholic College Director of Curriculum Trish Martin said that there have always been some positives and challenges in year 12, but they've faced other challenges this year.

It's not necessarily the classroom time: one of the major challenge has been the lack of sporting opportunities and other extra curricular activities like working on the cattle team.

Mrs Martin said the College's Class of 2020 has taken all of these changes on board very well.

While the students may be focused on completing their HSC, they already have in mind what they aim to do after they finish year 12.

Mr Barnes said he is hoping to study agronomy or horticulture at CSU after school.

For Ms Beasley, she is hoping to study either radiography or oral health at CSU and Mr Varghese is also looking at studying radiography.

Psychology is one of the subjects Ms McManus said she may be interested in studying.

The NSW Higher School Certificate exams start five days later than planned after a "challenging year" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exams start with English on Tuesday, October 20. It is expected students will receive their HSC results on December 18 so there will not be an impact on the timing of university offers.

The Forbes Advocate wishes all our local students sitting their HSC exams the very best.