‘Brought my grandparents to tears’: Top Greek students reflect on HSC relief


After undergoing 13 years of schooling, the moment it ends can be very confronting, exciting and also nerve-racking. Every student, regardless of their result, should be proud of dedicating so much of their life to their education.

For students like Maria Kontou and Yianna Nikos, the moment it ends is even more gratifying after finding out you beat thousands of students to place 1st in the State.

Maria Kontou. Photo: Supplied

“I was happy to see that my dedication was rewarded,” Maria Kontou said to The Greek Herald.

Maria Kontou, from the Saturday School of Community Languages Kogarah HS Centre, topped the class in New South Wales for both Modern Greek Continuers and Modern Greek Extension.

“I migrated to Sydney from the island of Rhodes in 2013, and so even though Greek is my first language, I had to put in a lot of hard work to receive the results that I did,” Maria said.

“Along with the challenges of 2020, doing the HSC has been extremely stressful and arduous, and waking up at 6am on Saturdays to go to Greek school did not help, but I have to say that my Saturday school classmates and our wonderful Greek teacher made all the lessons fun.”

Maria’s parents and grandparents were proud that she continued to embrace her Greek cultural heritage and, “engage with the Greek language through formal education.”

Yianna Nikos. Photo: Facebook

“As migrants themselves, my parents recognise the challenges that I faced while adapting to a different country and learning a new language, and the hard work and perseverance that was required to overcome them,” Maria added.

Yianna Nikos, from Presbyterian Ladies’ College Sydney in Croydon, received first in course honours for Textiles and Design. Like Maria, she was “shocked and extremely excited” to find out she had placed 1st in NSW for the subject.

“I was thankful for such a rewarding result and felt that it ended my HSC experience on a high note, adding some positivity to the stress that 2020 has brought,” Yianna said to The Greek Herald.

“Textiles has always played a role in both of my Yiayias’ lives, as well as my mother’s. Thus, my first place achievement really hit home and even brought my grandparents to tears.”

Yianna’s final Textiles and Design work. Photo: Supplied

Yianna designed a beautiful evening apparel gown with a strapless corset, straight skirt and traditionally smocked cape. She drew inspiration from 1940s figure-hugging, asymmetrical silhouettes and luxurious fabrics.

“I am beyond thankful to have had so many loving and supportive relatives around me, especially over the HSC year,” Yianna added.





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