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Society and Culture Awards

group of 21 young people standing against a wall

The annual Society and Culture awards ceremony  acknowledges top HSC students and is a highlight on the Learning Services calendar and this year was no exception. Students, their teachers, families and guests, hosted by the Society and Culture Association, came together last Friday to celebrate the achievement of some extraordinary young people.

The evening began with opening remarks from David de Carvalho, CEO, NSW Education Standards Authority, who inspired us all with his strong understanding and support for the subject and the contribution it makes to the social and cultural wellbeing of students and wider society.

The presentation of a specially struck medal to the top ten students in the state is undoubtedly a thrill for the students but also the audience as Marshall Leaver, MC, encourages the student to share something of their Society and Culture journey with the audience. It’s clear that this course challenges students to engage deeply with important issues such as feminism, globalisation, social justice, the role of the media in shaping public opinion, Indigenous disadvantage and more broadly intercultural understanding. One student suggested that the course should be compulsory for all HSC students.

The second part of the evening is a celebration of the students who achieved a high distinction for their Personal Interest Project (PIP). Students shared with us the topic of their PIP, what inspired them, their research methodologies and most importantly the impact their research had on them and the direction of their further studies. Students are moving on to further studies in Law, International and Global Studies, Psychology, City planning, Nursing, Medical Science and Teaching – a diversity of subjects but a common thread of combining their passion with practical skills and a desire to shape a better world.

The State Library of NSW is delighted to be the permanent home for the Personal Interest Project and we are committed to making this work accessible to students across NSW through the publication of PIP extracts on our website and distributing copies of the works in their entirety to regional libraries.

In an outstanding line up of high achievers a couple stood out for me:

Seda Hamoud not only achieved second place in the state but also a high distinction for her PIP.
Thalia Park arrived in Australia only four years ago and achieved a high distinction for her PIP entitled ‘Feminism in Australia and Korea’
Jessica Wilson from Wadalba Community College struggled through a stormy Sydney night and chaos on the trains for what she declared to be the most important night of her life. Jessica described herself as poor at public speaking but went on to speak about her PIP so eloquently that we all thoroughly disagreed with her assessment!
Willoughby Girls High School had four students represented in the twelve high distinctions as well as first in the state in the examination. Obviously excellent teaching and it was wonderful to see one of their teachers acknowledged with an Excellence in Teaching award.