A unique year for high school leavers

Year 12 this year looks different than it ever has before.
HSC oral language and practical performance exams will start within the next two weeks and students have been persevering through constant changes related to Covid-19.
Tumut High School Year 12 Year Advisor Jo-Ann Stroud said she’s been proud of the way students have been adapting.
“I have been really impressed with the students’ resilience and positive attitude,” said Ms Stroud, who is also the school’s Careers Advisor.
“Obviously, students are still a bit nervous about the HSC (as they are every year) however they have so many opportunities and supports to help them with their HSC. I support them with careers, by advertising opportunities via emails, careers newsletters, a Careers Facebook page and also a private Year 12 Facebook group. I am available to meet one on one with students and I help them navigate these opportunities, whether it be applying for university, scholarships, early admission or employment.”
Along with Ms Stroud’s counselling, each Year 12 teacher at THS has created a Google Classrooms set up for each course, where students are able to access their notes, assessments, useful links and videos to use when revising.
“This was so useful when remote learning occurred last term as students could continue to learn their course content,” said Ms Stroud.
Year 12 students have also been able to borrow a laptop or wi-fi dongle from the school until their HSC exams are finished.
Outside of the school, there have been free online HSC study sessions which Year 12 students could access to prepare for their exams. Those sessions were run by various universities, such as the University of Wollongong, UNSW, Australian Catholic University and others. Some universities also offered online tutoring sessions.
“I definitely am optimistic for our students,” said Ms Stroud.
“Many of the universities are now looking at the students’ past grades, Year 11 reports, their leadership qualities, resilience, empathy, community involvement, voluntary work etc. It is not just about the ATAR, which is so encouraging for the students”.
She said Year 12 students at THS had been attending virtual open days and careers expos, online information sessions with tertiary providers, scholarship webinars, courses with private tertiary providers, and exploring advertised apprenticeships and traineeships in the local area with Snowy Hydro, Snowy Valleys Council, Essential Energy and more.
“I believe the students are all on track in their own way,” said Ms Stroud. “Their resilient attitudes and support within the school and community will give them the opportunity to achieve their life goals”.
Ms Stroud said students in 2020 face a variety of pathways which can help then gain entry into their chosen courses and careers.
“Tumut is such a supportive community and the businesses here continue to provide opportunities for those students who wish to work in the local area”.
After the exams are over, the impacts of Covid-19 will continue to impact the Year 12 students of 2020 with post-school rituals like an overseas gap year put in jeopardy.
“There have been some students who wished to travel overseas next year but they are now applying for courses and employment as their Plan B,” said Ms Stroud.
Other students have also been choosing to defer university for a year in order to work and save money before studying. Many young workers were out of work during Covid-19 restrictions, but didn’t qualify for JobKeeper payments because they were employed for too few hours or hadn’t been with their employers for long enough.