Uncertainty is nothing to be afraid of for HSC students

Casimir Catholic College students Pamela Tsiamis and Isaac Atienzo sat their Modern History HSC exam last week – two of the 19,330 Catholic school students currently in the midst of HSC exams. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

For HSC students Isaac Atienzo and Pamela Tsiamis the future may be uncertain but it is nevertheless looking extremely bright.

The Year 12 students at Casimir Catholic College in Marrickville met with The Catholic Weekly after sitting their Modern History exam last week.

They are among the 4,637 students from Sydney Catholic schools and the record 19,330 Catholic students across the state sitting their HSC this year.

Pamela, a NSW representative golf player with a handicap of four, had pulled back from her golf commitments this year to focus on her studies, but broke a finger in the week before her first exam. She was philosophical about the setback.

“What can I do? I can’t dwell on it,” she said.

“I was playing oztag last Monday and I tried to go for the tag and it, like, bent 90 degrees.

“I saw it and went, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty full on’. I’ve got a pin put in it.”

For last-minute study she’s restricted to re-reading old notes and also tried the support of a scribe for her exams.

HSC advice from teacher Alison Collett De Sousa (pictured). PHOTO: Loreto Normanhurst

“I get extra rest time during exams but I found it difficult to work with a writer,” she said.

“Even though it hurts a bit I still want to write myself because it’s much easier for me to do it that way.

Pamela’s looking forward to getting back to golf next year, and also hopes to be working and studying.

She studied Biology, Modern History, Religion, English, Maths, and Business Studies for the HSC, and sees a possible future in advertising, marketing, or communications.

“After this I’m going to get a job, maybe two jobs, and then maybe do uni but I don’t feel like I’m going to get the marks I need, so I’m going to try UTS’ INSEARCH diploma (a bridging program),” she said.

Isaac studied English (Advanced and Extension), Modern History, Community and Family Studies, Studies of Religion II, Visual Arts, and Drama.

He’s “pretty pumped” to have been nominated to perform in the upcoming HSC Drama showcase OnSTAGE at the Seymour Centre.

If selected, he will perform a monologue based on Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Jordan Belfort in The Wolf on Wall Street.

To prepare, he studied both the movie and the book upon which it was based.

He’s passionate about history, and wants to begin a Bachelor of Arts degree next year.

“Honestly I’m yet to meet one person who knows exactly what they want to do after the HSC, and those that tell you exactly what they want to do I think they’re lying,” he said.

“I’m just going to try to get the best ATAR and begin at uni next year. I might take a gap year after that, but I need to get back into school immediately so I don’t lose momentum.

“But I’ll just take it one step at a time.”

Isaac plays a variety of instruments, including piano, guitar, harmonica, the mandolin, and has got “pretty good” at using a looper pedal in electronic music.

Before discovering a talent for music and drama Isaac assumed he would follow in his older brother’s footsteps who is “insane with his maths, his physics and his chemistry”.

“My brother would be astronomically good on the academic side and is studying engineering and I always just assumed I’d pursue the same role, maybe because I didn’t have a sense of my own individuality.

“Towards maybe the midway through high school I discovered music. I found out I could pick up instruments and learn them really, really, quickly.”

“I also picked up singing because a friend let me know one night that my singing was really terrible and I think that really prompted me to try harder. I’ve started busking in several different places and I’ve got a gig tomorrow.”