HEAD OF THE CLASS: Ja?el Waasdorp hits the books in preparation for her HSC exams.
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Ja?el Waasdorp hits the books in preparation for her HSC exams.

Not your average 15-year-old

By EMMA CORNFORD

ecornford@dailyexaminer.com.au

YESTERDAY was Ja'el Waasdorp's 15th birthday.

While most students her age were taking it easy for the day, she was busy revising for her physics and chemistry Higher School Certificate exams, which she will take in around three weeks as part of an accelerated learning program.

Ja'el was just 14 when she started studying HSC subjects ? the youngest St Andrews student to take on the senior exams ? but said she loved the challenges it presented.

"It's a bit stressful and it can be a bit weird that everyone else is older and has their licence and that kind of thing ? I won't even be able to get my Ls till I've finished my HSC," she said.

"But it's fun. I really like school."

With just three students in her chemistry class, Ja'el said her lessons felt more like tutorials than subjects ? a fact that has no doubt helped her through the tough courses.

Not content to simply spend her days studying, Ja'el also learns piano and has taught herself guitar.

Originally from South Australia where there is a different education system, Ja'el was told she would have to repeat a year when she arrived in New South Wales.

"My parents thought I should stay behind because they weren't sure I'd be mature enough for it, but I said there was no way I wanted to stay behind for a year."

Ja'el said she hoped to study medicine when she finished school.



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