Two Mid North Coast students are being celebrated for their extraordinary academic achievements today after coming first in their course across NSW.
St Joseph's Regional College student Will McCoubrie has come equal first in Design and Technology, while Camden Haven High School Distance Education Centre student Toby Hill came first in Indonesian Beginners.
Will said he was shocked to see he had come equal first in Design and Technology.
"I wasn't expecting it at all," he said. "I was at the gym around 8am last Friday when I got the call to say I had come first and it was just a complete shock to me" he said.
"It was by far my favourite subject, and I was really passionate about the major projects that I did, it was a really fun process for me."
His main portfolio, worth 70 per cent of his mark, consisted of a hand sculpture that is roughly four metres long, two metres wide and two metres high.
The hand is accompanied by a long wall structure that has the word "UNEARTHED" scrawled across it. The design piece is currently located at his parents' property in Dunbogan.
Will said the hand symbolised the efforts and support of the community during the recent floods, fires and COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was designed to represent how the community was able to come together with helping hands to assist people during those terrible times," he said.
"It was a lot of work at the end because the first part of the project involved a lot of design work, so I remember the last few weeks being spent actually constructing it."
"As it was a very large scale, it sometimes took 10-hour days to really pull off the visual image that I was after.
"I pretty much ate breakfast, lunch and dinner there to work on it and make sure it was perfect."
Will said the idea is to have the sculpture at the entrance of a community centre that his parents are hoping to build in the future.
His mum Jeanette McCoubrie said she is very proud of him and his achievement.
"None of us really expected it," she said. "He wasn't working to get first place, he was really just working to do a project that he was proud of.
"So, when he came home and told us that he placed first in the course, it felt like all his hard work had really paid off."
While Will admitted that the overall HSC workload was "challenging" at times, he said his passion for his Design and Technology portfolio helped him get through it.
"I think the thing that helped me deal with that workload is that I really enjoyed subjects like Design Technology" he said.
"When I went home to work on my portfolio at night it wasn't homework to me, it was actually me just enjoying that time working on the project."
Will thanked his teacher Phil Pares and St Joseph's Regional College for the support as he completed his HSC studies.
As students across the state wait with bated breath for their HSC results to be released tomorrow (December 15), it's a different story for Will who said he is "not nervous at all".
"To be honest I completely forgot that the results come out tomorrow," he said.
"I am having a gap year after this so I won't need it for a year, and then I am hoping to get into ANU which only requires a portfolio and an interview to be accpeted."
Will is hoping to complete a Bachelor of Design at ANU, but has also already been selected into the University of Canberra for his second preference.
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