The long wait is over for the NSW 2021 Higher School Certificate cohort, and Armidale students have done well despite the pandemic playing havoc with their schooling routine.
The town boasts 45 students on the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Distinguished Achievers' award list.
Distinguished achievers are the students who achieved a result in the highest band (Band 6 or Band E4 with a mark over 90) for one or more courses.
Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks (ATAR) are calculated in each state to reflect a student's rank against other students in their state. In NSW, they are issued by the University Admissions Centre, and the average ATAR is usually around 70.00.
At Armidale Secondary College (ASC), 135 students sat for their HSC in 2021 and 10 of those were announced as distinguished achievers last week.
"After two really tough years, it's been fantastic for the kids to get these great results," said acting principal Bree Harvey-Bice.
"The kids did well across a range of subjects, but the visual arts class, in particular, has done really well with the majority of them achieving in the top two bands."
Ms Harvey-Bice said she attributed the strong results to the students' passion for their art and the support of their teacher Mitchell Edwards.
"We've got a bunch of kids who are really happy because they've achieved either what they set out to achieve in terms of their ATAR or beyond that," Ms Harvey-Bice said.
" A lot of them have achieved scholarships already ."
ASC school captain Jordan King received the highest ATAR in the school (97.4) and was also one of only 25 students in Australia to receive a Tuckwell Scholarship from the Australian National University, which will give him an annual stipend of about $22,000 to support him throughout his undergraduate degree program.
Year 10 ASC student Michael Bogeholz accelerated his HSC and achieved a band 6 in Advanced Mathematics and Mathematics Extension 1.
Of the 18 students in the Visual Arts class, 11 achieved band 5 or 6, and student Amber Leitner was selected for both Art Express and OnStage for her costume design for drama.
"Music 1 and 2 students also performed particularly well," said Ms Harvey-Bice
"With such a significant impact on the arts and arts practitioners and professionals due to COVID and external examinations for practical works for the HSC being rearranged and reformatted in the course of the HSC, these results are really impressive for our students and teachers in the Creative and Performing Arts Faculty."
Armidale Secondary College 2021 HSC Distinguished Achievers: Michael Bogeholz (Mathematics, Extension 1 Mathematics Advanced); Breanna Boyd (Music 1); Mauatua Fa'ara-Reynolds (Music Extension and French Beginners); Daniel Jamali (English Advanced, English Extension 1 and Music Extension); Jordan King (Earth and Environmental Science, English Advanced, Mathematics Advanced); Dylan Knox (Music 1); Laurence Kuchlmayr (Mathematics Extension 1 Mathematics Extension 2); Amber Leitner (Visual Arts); Berton Lynch (Biology, Economics, Mathematics Advanced) and Evelyn Ward( English Extension 1).
The town's Catholic secondary school also did well, considering the two years of tutoring turmoil caused by COVID-19.
Principal Regina Menz said she was incredibly proud of the students.
"Not only for their great results but also how they have thrived during two very challenging years," Ms Menz said. "They have truly shown they are strong and resilient. A big thank you to all the staff for all their work in helping our students achieve their learning goals."
Emilia Rice was declared Dux of the school with an ATAR score of 96.3 (Band 6 Mathematics Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 2, Band 5 English Advanced, Studies of Religion 2 and Chemistry).
Miss Rice was closely followed by Eliza Boland, who achieved 91.55 ( Band 6 English Extension 1, Studies of Religion 1) and the five other Distinguished Achievers from the school. Elian Cotter (Band 6 Studies of Religion 1); Ethan Boshoff (Band 6 Mathematics Extension 2); Ella-Rose Carson Band (6 Mathematics Standard 1); William Stace (Band 6 Mathematics Standard 1); and Georgia Luchich, whose major work was selected for the 2021 TexStyle Exhibition.
Many of the girls achieved outstanding results, principal Nicola Taylor said, reflecting the focus, self-'discipline' and 'resilience' that characterised this diverse cohort.
"Especially considering the disruption COVID-19 brought to their final stage of schooling," said Mrs Taylor.
"The achievement of the girls individually and collectively across subjects studied exemplifies the culture of learning at PLC Armidale."
The independent school had 10 students recognised on the NESA Distinguished Achievers' list.
"ATARS are not made directly available to schools; however, we have begun hearing back from a number of our students and offer congratulations to Georgia Butler (95.05), Pearl Rogers (93.85) and Natalie Brennan (90.15), who have all attained an ATAR over 90 with additional ATARs yet to be confirmed," Mrs Taylor said.
Mrs Taylor also congratulated the PLC students on the 2021 NSW Distinguished Achievers list: Natalie Brennan, Georgia Butler, Rachael Kenrick, Lilly McCook, Tomasina Model, Jorja Power, Pearl Rogers, Charlotte Thomas, Julia Wisniewski and Lucy Wright.
Georgia Butler's Visual Arts body of work has been selected for inclusion in Art Express, and Pearl Rogers' received a nomination for the inclusion of her drama Individual performance in OnStage.
Mrs Taylor said many of the girls had received offers to their courses of choice in a range of universities and training colleges.
"We are thrilled for the girls whose effort and application has yielded these results along with the staff who have readied them," Mrs Taylor said.
"The academic and personal growth of each individual, perseverance through adversity and finishing well are measures of lasting achievement.
"On behalf of the staff of PLC Armidale, I would like to congratulate the Class of 2021 and wish them well in their future endeavours."
NEGS principal Kathy Bishop said she was proud of the efforts of the Year 12 cohort and its resilience, tenacity, and ability to keep all in perspective during a fractioned couple of final school years.
"As a group, they shared good humour and grace through these extraordinary times," Ms Bishop said.
"Congratulations to our 2021 School Dux, Amelia Croft, on her HSC results (95.55).
"A Distinguished Achiever, with Band 6 in English Advanced, English Extension 1, Legal Studies and Visual Arts. Amelia deserved all that she achieved."
Seven students achieving an ATAR above 95, two students named on the All Round Achievers List and a state ranking in Modern History are highlights of the 2021 HSC results for The Armidale School.
In all, 17 students recorded 39 Band 6 results in a record 21 subjects. Six students achieved a Band 6 in English Advanced and another in English Extension, while there were four Band 6 results in Economics.
Principal Rachel Horton described the results as particularly pleasing, given the challenges - and even more so, with so many students already getting into their university course of choice.
"I am proud of their achievements, but I am also incredibly pleased with the way they conducted themselves last year," she said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Everyone has a story to tell and I like to help them do it.
Everyone has a story to tell and I like to help them do it.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.