Six students from Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) have received HSC First in Course honours in a year like no other.

Remarkably, in the Construction Examination Aquinas Catholic College Menai Year 12 graduates Oliver Wells and Brock Wilson, together with Clancy Catholic College West Hoxton’s Tony Khattar, topped the course in a three-way tie.  

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic College Kensington student Diana Vlahos topped Biology, Bethany College Hurstville student Corina Choy topped Mathematics Standard 1, and Patrician Brothers’ College Fairfield student Brent Macaraeg topped Italian Beginners. 

Two SCS students who studied external courses to their school also placed first in the state: Bethany Catholic College Hurstville student Jovanka Lim in Indonesian and Literature, and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College Kensington student Christina Solyom in Hungarian Continuers.

The awards place the students among NSW’s top achievers from the 76,399 students who sat one or more HSC courses this year. 

The students were today acknowledged in an online ceremony by Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Education and Early Learning. 


It was a case of three of a kind in the Construction Examination, with Aquinas students Oliver Wells and Brock Wilson sharing first place with Clancy’s Tony Khattar.

The trio said it was an unexpected honour but one that they all worked extremely hard to achieve. 

“Receiving first in the course is a surreal feeling; it’s very fulfilling to see such a great result for the years of work” – Oliver Wells

“It’s an extremely proud achievement and being rewarded with this accolade for my hard work and commitment to my studies is very rewarding,” Brock said. 

“I can’t wait to see the opportunities and pathways this achievement may help to open.”

“The fact I was able to achieve First in Course even with the countless people completing the same course is beyond me,” said Tony.

“The exhilaration I felt when the person on the other side of the phone congratulates me for coming first is the gold medal for winning the longest two years of my education career so far.”

Construction trio Brock Wilson (left), Tony Khattar (middle) and Oliver Wells (right).


Oliver and Brock paid special tribute to Aquinas Construction teachers Mitch Buchan and Thomas De’athe for their help and support in what proved to be a challenging year. 

“Mr Buchan and Mr De’athe were both significantly helpful towards the exams, providing past papers and valuable feedback as well as any other additional support that was requested,” Brock said. 

“I’m grateful that I had teachers and a school that went above and beyond and ensured that I had every opportunity to maximise my learning and HSC preparation in what has been an unprecedented year” – Brock Wilson  

“Our teachers provided constant support and encouragement,” Oliver added. 

“They always asked for our input with projects and helped us think through different solutions and related the practical learning with the theory which helped answer exam questions.”

Tony thanked his teacher Riley Coughlan for his passion and determination in the classroom and for pushing the students from day one.

“He would always project out to all of us that there were state rankings in our class, and here I am achieving first,” said Tony.


As the boys now enjoy some hard-earned celebrations, they’ll soon begin the next phase of their journey with the trio all eyeing off careers in the Construction industry. 

“I have applied for a few universities for Construction and Project Management with both Construction and Design and Technology having a heavy influence on my decision,” Brock explained. 

“Throughout studying Construction, I really enjoyed all that was involved including reading and interpreting plans, solving problems and of course the practical work of the subject.”

Oliver said: “The skills you learn in school are so useful for future careers and for home projects.” 

“In the next year I hope to study Construction Project Management and work away at numerous projects planned for the backyard,” Oliver further added. 

“Fortunately enough for me, I was accepted into the University of Technology Sydney, through their early entry schemes,” Tony said.

“With this I am able to continue my interests that relate to construction, in a higher academic level, with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honors), majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering.”