Two students from Port Macquarie schools are part of a distinguished group of 2021 Higher School Certificate first in course achievers.
St Columba Anglican School student Thomas Crundwell topped the state in software design and development, and Kashia McGrath from MacKillop College Port Macquarie placed first in studies of religion I.
Thomas said he was pretty amazed and excited by his achievement.
"I love programming and I felt the subject reflected that knowledge and interest," he said.
Thomas drew on his experience in electronics projects, making websites and programming for the school's robotics team.
Thomas said his achievement in software design and development gave him confidence about his knowledge and that he would enjoy the industry.
"I want to thank my parents, the school and teachers for their support, allowing me to achieve this goal and become first in the state [in software design and development]," he said.
Thomas, who received an ATAR of 96.3, hopes to study computer science and mechatronics engineering at UNSW with a view to a career in software engineering or robotics engineering.
Kashia said she was completely shocked to top the state in studies of religion I.
"I was not expecting that at all," she said.
"It took me a very long time to believe it and it still feels a bit surreal."
Kashia said she applied the same work ethic to studies of religion as her other subjects and it paid off.
Kashia placed 10th in the state in advanced English, achieved an ATAR of 99.85 and hopes to study medicine.
"I like to able to help people as much as possible," she said.
"I think it [medicine] would be really stimulating and challenging, but throughout that whole time, I would like to be helping people."
Kashia thanked her family, teachers, the college staff and her year group.
Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams said those studying the HSC in 2021 succeeded during a challenging year marked by a global pandemic.
"In a normal year, finishing first in a HSC course is an outstanding achievement, and to do so in a year like 2021, is a credit to the dedication and talent of Thomas Crundwell and Kashia McGrath who have been recognised on Wednesday," Mrs Williams said.
Premier Dominic Perrottet congratulated students who obtained first place in a 2021 HSC course on their outstanding results, achieved despite two challenging years.
"To top the state in an HSC course is an incredible achievement at the best of times; to do so today highlights even more so the grit, dedication and talent of the students being recognised," Mr Perrottet said.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said combined with their abilities and skills, first in course recipients had shown what could be achieved when there was a real commitment to learning - a quality which would hold them in good stead for the future.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Bookmark our website
Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
You can support us with a subscription
Follow us on Twitter: @portmacnews
Follow us on Instagram: @portmacnews
Follow us on Google News
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.