‘THE LONGEST YEAR’: Formal relief for HSC students
IT IS the culmination of 13 years of hard work, but for much of this year, the HSC class of 2021 feared they might not get the chance to dance at the end of their schooling.
COVID restrictions were lifted over the past week, and many schools across the Clarence Valley took the opportunity to give the students the send-off they deserved.
McAuley Catholic College took over Clarence River Jockey Club on Saturday night with a reduced audience, and with students allowed to dance after the formalities.
School captain Quinnlan Boyce said it was lucky they got to celebrate together.
“It was definitely a long time in waiting, but its was a good night and I think everyone enjoyed it,” he said.
With cancelled events, home-schooling and revised timetables providing twists and turns in what was already to be a expected to be a challenging year, Quinnlan said the formal topped off the year for the students.
“It was something we all worked through,” he said. “All the things we wanted to do, all of the fun events and trips as a year group were cancelled, and having that opportunity I think is something everyone needed.”
Quinnlan described the McAuley Year 12 cohort as quite a close group, something he said helped during the isolation of home-schooling during the HSC.
“Everyone kept in touch - I mean, I still played video games with my friends, and everyone found a way to keep in contact,” he said.
“Isolation put a hold on a lot of things, but everyone got through, and now the plans are going off.”
HSC exams have taken the attention of the students over the last month, and Quinnlan said it felt like a long period of time while in the midst of it.
“I remember doing the first exam and thinking I’ve only got five to go ... but I only finished last Friday,” he said.
“It seems like a long time ago now, and I feel like I’ve done so much between now and then.
“It was challenging. There was a lot of study, I know that, but I think everyone’s really happy that it’s done.”
Quinnlan said he believed his classmates will take the downtime to figure out their next step, with many taking the opportunity to take small breaks in small groups, or camping.
And while the term resilience has been used a lot to describe the students’ experience from the year, Quinnlan said he thought it would serve them all well later in life.
“I think we found our way through adapting to every chance, which I think made everyone better for it,” he said.
“It really showed us another way we can do things, so we came out a lot stronger and independent.”
And how would Quinnlan look back on a year unlike any other?
“I think I’ll think ‘I can’t believe I did that’,” he said. “It was the longest year I’ve had, but it was full of goods and bads, and it’s a relief now.
“It was definitely worth it, I think people accomplished what they needed to and a lot of people are doing what they want to do.”