13 October 2016

Ms TRISH DOYLE (Blue Mountains) (16:10): I add my voice to the good wishes from this Parliament to young people across the State sitting their Higher School Certificate [HSC] exams today. I thank my good colleague the member for Lakemba and the shadow Minister for Education for seeking that this matter be considered. The subject matter and the learning environments, as we have heard, have radically changed in recent years but the feelings and experiences for many students today will be much the same as those for many of us in this place when we first sat our exams. As a former English teacher and the mother of two teenage boys I know that this can be a stressful time—possibly the most stressful time—for young people. I thank parents and teachers of our HSC students for their input, support and patience.

I say this to our young people of today: Take a deep breath, relax and make sure that you look after yourselves during this period. The HSC exams are the culmination of years of hard work through years 11 and 12 particularly but that hard work is already paying off and these exams are only half of the picture. Your efforts over the past two years are just as important. As has been said in this place, the HSC is not the be-all and end-all of academic achievement. My son reminded me last year of something I said to him: It does not determine the rest of your life. Mind you, he reminded me the night before his first exam that that was what I had said to him.

By no means is the HSC a reliable indicator of future results so you need not worry, young people, that these exams are the only pathway to your chosen career or future path. Many of you will enrol in university or pursue a trade qualification through TAFE and many others will enter the workforce directly. What is important is that you will be leaving school with the knowledge, skills and self-awareness to make your way as an adult in our society. Today I particularly want to wish all the very best to HSC students at schools in my electorate, many of whom I taught as well—Blaxland High School, Katoomba High School, Springwood High School, Winmalee High School, St Columba's High School, Corowa High School, Mountains Christian College and Wycliffe Christian School, Blue Mountains Steiner School and Kindlehill. Congratulations on all your efforts so far. You are good young people. Take another deep breath and enjoy the final weeks of school as you head out into the world on your next adventure. The exams are just part of that.