Sisters Hannah and Matilda Stewart from Hastings Secondary College are on cloud nine after receiving a prestigious honour for their academic abilities.
The pair received a High Distinction and medal for their high scores in English for Year 11 and Year 9 as part of the International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) 2021.
Both Hannah and Matilda have been taking the ICAS tests each year, but this is the first time they have received the high honour and placed in the top one percent of entrants across over 20 countries.
ICAS is an extra-curricular test which allows students to compare themselves academically to other students their age.
"Our parents first encouraged us to do it so they could see where we were sitting outside of our school," Hannah said.
The pair were tested in Maths and Science as well as English.
"English was the subject we got the award in and received the medal for," Matilda said.
The English test was comprehension-based and required students to be given a piece of text which they then had to answer questions on to test their level of understanding.
"The testing is quite difficult. Especially in Science and Maths because they always throw in some really difficult questions," Hannah said.
"Some questions are easy ones that everyone can get, some are really hard ones and then there are lots of medium questions," Matilda added.
ICAS is run by Janison and are conducted annually, with Hannah and Matilda sitting the test each year except for 2015 and 2020.
The test is international, with over 20 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Pacific countries, and America involved in the competition.
Only the top scoring students in each year level in each subject are awarded an ICAS medal where the students' score is deemed to be sufficiently meritorious.
Hannah and Matilda said they are very proud to have received the prestigious honour.
"It's amazing and is a real confidence boost," Matilda said.
"Usually I'm more of a Science and Maths person but I read a lot outside of school and I think that helped me a lot," Hannah added.
The girls sat the test in August and received their High Distinction certificates late last year before finding out they were also awarded the medals a few weeks ago.
Principal of Hastings Secondary College Port Macquarie Campus Rob Lyttle said he is very proud of what the pair have achieved.
"It's quite exceptional to have two students from the same family get this academic recognition," he said.
"It's a very prestigious achievement. We would like to congratulate all of the high achievers, but especially Hannah and Matilda."
Head teacher at Hastings Secondary College Louise Newbound facilitates the ICAS tests for the school each year while head of English Jo-Ann Southon has also been acknowledged as the girls' English teacher.
A virtual awards ceremony will be held next month to congratulate the high achievers.
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