ANCIENT history and theatre buffs, IT whizzes, mathematical geniuses, business-driven brains and more, were amidst some 40-odd students who recently topped the HSC charts across Orange schools.
The owners of some of the highest marks across the city - receiving Band 6 in one or more of their subjects - resounded university preferences from Sydney, Canberra, or Melbourne-based campuses, to regional and coastal settings.
One young man from Canobolas Rural Technology High School, Toby Howell has deferred for a well-earned gap year; though he's enrolled to study at SAE's Byron Bay campus in pursuit of his dream career in the film-production industry.
"I've deferred my course to next year, where then I'll go into film production with SAE; I just enjoyed making films in English and for assessments, and I enjoyed photography as well so I think that's the dream ... film producing."
Along with the creative Mr Howell, other students are also deciding to take a well-earned gap year.
After receiving an ATAR of 99.55, Orange Christian School's Harry Grant will take a well-earned year off to sort through the plethora of open doors in his future.
"It's a bit unbelievable at the moment, I still can't wrap my head around it really," Mr Grant said.
"I got my marks ... and I was looking thinking 'okay, these are pretty good', and I was sort of aiming for 96, 97, 98 and I thought 'oh I might be able to', and then I opened up my ATAR, and I just never expected that."
Making the HSC's Overall High-Achievers list with Mr Grant are Kinross Wolaroi School's Alex Williams and Emma Choi.
Scoring Band 6 marks across 12 of her 13 HSC units, Miss Choi is now hoping to study medicine at the University of NSW, with acceptance dates being released January 26.
Some other students' course entries are ready to go now, like James Sheahan High School's Matthew Houghton - who aced his Mathematics Advanced subject in the 90s - who will soon make the move to coastal Newcastle to undertake tertiary studies in the field of Aerospace Engineering.
"My family knows this is such a great opportunity, but they've also said alright, well ... you've got to call us, okay?!"
Whether students will continue further studies, undertake work or traineeships, take a gap year or remain undecided a little longer, they know one thing will stay the same among them ... that the unified goal for the HSC 2021 mission, is finally complete.
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