By SARAH HAWKE.
Girls have taken out top positions in most HSC subjects in New South Wales including in the male-dominated fields of automotive and primary industries.
One hundred and sixteen students received first in course awards from the Education Minister Adrian Piccoli during a ceremony in Sydney today, with six of the students topping two courses.
Parents, carers, teachers and friends watched on as the certificates were presented to 82 girls and 34 boys.
The breakdown between private and public schools was about even.
Grace Parker from the Dubbo Christian School came equal first in automotive examination with Jack Cutler from the New England Institute in Tamworth.
Grace and her twin sister were one of three girls in the class of up to 30 kids at the Western Institute, she had she had to persist to get into the class.
“My school, they weren’t too sure about the subject and it was a bit hard to get me enrolled in the subject at first,” she said.
“There was a lot of questions about a female being a mechanic, [like] ‘TAFE isn’t for young people’, but I really persisted and I really wanted to take charge of my education.”
Grace said that once she got in, everybody was supportive.
Claudia Nielsen from Calrossy Anglican School topped the primary industries examination.
“I am really passionate about agriculture and the industry”, the Tamworth student said.
Along with her studies, Claudia also runs a cattle stud which she has been operating with the support of her parents since she was seven.
She plans on taking a year off and then study a Bachelor of Science.
“I definitely enjoyed growing up on the land and experiencing the rural lifestyle, it’s really beautiful out there, defiantly make a living out of it,” Claudia said.
Her father Geoff is an agriculture teacher and travelled to Sydney for today’s presentation, and said he was pleased with his daughter’s efforts.
“Extremely proud, Claudia worked really hard throughout the entire year,” Mr Nielsen said.
Girls also dominated English subjects but boys had a strong showing in mathematics.
Rowan Faint was one of four students that came first.
The Penrith Anglican College student is actually in Year 11, but was accelerated up a year in mathematics.
He told the ABC that he loves maths but was surprised at what he achieved.
“I knew I did well in maths but not that well,” he said, adding, “[I’ve] always done well in it, just loved it, really awesome.”
Burwood Girls High School friends Qisthy Kodarusman and Chau Le were flanked by family at today’s awards ceremony.