‘Still so many stereotypes’: The top 2017 HSC students revealed

When Bianca Ritter decided she wanted to study traditionally male-dominated subjects for the HSC, including construction and industrial technology specialising in timber, most people questioned her choices.

“I was interested in the more masculine subjects but there are still so many stereotypes and a lot of stigma around females in those areas and so many people asked ‘why would she do it, especially because I have always been a pretty good student’,” Bianca said.

But the high-achieving Mount Carmel College student proved them wrong and has topped the state in construction.

As the state’s graduating high school class of 2017 nervously await their HSC results to be released at 6am on Thursday, the NSW Education Standards Authority celebrated the students who topped a course at a special ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday.

Bianca was one of 120 students from 85 schools who topped one of 114 HSC subjects, with eight students coming first in more than one.

Seven students topped two courses each, including the same two students who came equal first in Music 2 and Music Extension.

Selective high schools Fort Street and North Sydney Boys had the most number of students who topped a course, with four from Fort Street – including two students who came first in two subjects – and North Sydney Boys had four students who came first in their course, including one who topped two subjects.

Julian van Gerwen, a year 11 student from Fort Street High, came first in mathematics and mathematics extension 1, while his classmate Angela Zha topped German continuers and German extension.

Hebe Larkin, from Pymble Ladies College, was the only student to have placed first in three subjects (Classical Greek continuers, Classical Greek extension and Latin continuers).

The schools were split fairly evenly between 45 government schools (including selective and language schools) and 40 non-government schools, including 17 Catholic schools.

The Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, described the students as the “shining stars of this year’s HSC”.

“The HSC is challenging for every student, so to come first in a course is an outstanding achievement,” Ms Berejiklian said.

These students have risen to their potential through ability, hard work and enthusiasm for their studies.”

Bianca plans to take a year off from her studies next year to travel but then hopes to work in construction project management or interior design.

“I haven’t applied for university yet because after 13 years of school, I am ready for a break,” she said.

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