With a shortage of doctors in the New England region, local girl Olivia Mihill is hoping her ATAR of 93.9 will be enough to secure her a shot at studying medicine.
The New England Girls School NEGS border from Moree is one of five students from the school listed in the NSW Distinguished Achievers list.
Olivia's first preference is to follow her interior architecture-studying sister Gemma's footsteps into the University of New South Wales UNSW, where the younger sibling hopes to study medicine or engineering.
"I hope to become a doctor and then specialise in something along the way, maybe surgery or emergency," Olivia said.
If not, then the combined medicine degree at the University of New England UNE and the University of Newcastle is in her sights.
Among the forces pushing Olivia to become a doctor have been her own difficulties in accessing local GPs and encouragement from other health professionals.
"I really do love my hometown and the whole area so I think it would be really rewarding to come back (and work here)," Olivia said.
But if her dreams to study medicine do not go as planned, then the 18-year-old is looking into either civil, software or mining engineering at UNSW.
"I just enjoy the material sciences aspect of it," she said.
"And I find problem-solving with maths very interesting."
Her highest score was in number-crunching, crediting much of the support and encouragement from NEGS' maths teacher Ms Morey for her success.
"She's really amazing. And I love being in her classes. And she really got to know each of us girls really well."
Olivia's advice to the year 2023 students heading into HSC is to just do the best they can and "knuckle down and try really hard".
"But at the same time remember to give yourself breaks and also acknowledge what you've achieved so far and give yourself kudos for that.
"Because it's important to see the future that you want and work toward that but also reflect and appreciate what you've already achieved."
NEGS' Brielle Ball scored an ATAR of 92.25, with notable achievements in design and technology for her colour-coded silicone bands that distinguish cookware in commercial kitchens dealing with food intolerances.
The 18-year-old said she is off to the UK for a gap year to work in an outdoor camp for kids before returning to Australia to study design.
Armidale Public School also achieved impressive results, with 15 of their students being placed in the Distinguished Achievers list, and nearby The Armidale School TAS also had 14 of their students posted on the list.
O'Connor Catholic College on Kirkwood Street has 13 students among the state's Distinguished Achievers, with top student Fletcher Schultz scoring an ATAR of 95.7 to become DUX of the school.
Of the 65,000 students across NSW who sat their Higher School Certificate HSC this year, 1,412 were spotted on the All-round Achievers list, 780 among the Top Achievers, and 17,473 on the Distinguished Achievers list.
The average ATAR across the state was 71.25.
Make sure you are signed up for our breaking news and regular newsletters