Well, the Higher School Certificate is done and dusted for another year. But what a year!

Every year the pressures of the HSC are obvious. Fifty percent of a student’s results hinge on their ability to capture everything they have learnt over their years of schooling in the answers they give in an examination. It’s a pretty tall order when you consider what is involved. And now they wait. The next few years of their lives hanging on a mark issued by someone they have never met, using a formula no-one knows about except a small team of people tucked away in an office somewhere (though perhaps COVID-19 could have them working from home?), to get a credential that is becoming increasingly confusing for people to understand. Is it any wonder the universities are calling it all in to question! And in amongst it, a number of our graduates this year already have offers into university despite their results not even being calculated yet. It happens every year, with graduates from Heritage being accepted into courses such as Law, Education, Health Sciences, Psychology and a whole range of science and engineering degrees over the past several years.

But let’s take a step back a bit. The HSC is just one way to get to where you want to go in life. And even then, it is actually only one way to get to the next thing in your life, it isn’t either a defining or limiting event. I’m living proof of that! My HSC was not exactly what you would call a ‘high performance event’. I wasn’t the least bit interested in school as a teenager for reasons we won’t go in to here. That was very clear to my teachers, and I would suggest my parents, though they simply avoided facing it. I did little work. I attended only when the fancy struck me. And, when I did attend, wasn’t exactly what you would describe as a ‘model student’. I was more a model of the ‘anti-student’. If it wasn’t fun, I wasn’t doing it!

So armed with no university entrance offers, I did a trade in the aviation industry. That led to other opportunities that I jumped at. That led to more opportunities that by the time they came along I was finally smart enough to recognise. Truth is I was probably thirty years old before I finally realised both what I really wanted to do and what I was good at. It was torturous for the people around me I am sure! After a very rocky start to my academic career with my HSC, I’ve accumulated a few qualifications along the way (which I chucked after my name below just for my own amusement!). I very rarely write them anywhere because it does make a bloke look a bit… well, serious. Not something I want to get around…

So, here’s my strongest possible encouragement. If you or your child don’t do as well as you had hoped for, don’t give up. The reality is something in the order of seventy-five percent of everyone who gets a place at university this year won’t get it on the basis of their ATAR alone. In fact, some will get it ‘despite’ their ATAR. And if you think a trade is not as good as a university degree, then remember that a plumber or an electrician is earning a heck of a lot more money these days than your average graduate with a degree! I loved doing a trade, and the skills I learnt are things I apply every day in some way or other.

Am I saying don’t worry about doing well? No, absolutely not! You’d be a dill to not do as well as you can. I know, I wasted a lot of years along the way getting to where I am now. I love my job, the people I work with, and the privilege of working with your kids. My point is, God cuts people from all sorts of cloth, so do what you are good at. Do what God has gifted you in. Chase those dreams that you are passionate about. Go be all God has called you to be, not what other people think you should be…

And now Year 12, we wait…

I’m truly excited to see where God takes you all in life…

Geoff Brisby

M.Ed; Grad.Dip. Ed. Stud; B.Teach (Prim); Dip. D&M; Cert. IV Gov. Investigations; Cert. AME; ARNG; Dux of Kinda 1962.