By Mitchell Clarke and Jessica Anstice
Students across Casey have breathed a sigh of relief after knocking over their first VCE exam.
After the most disrupted year on record, final year exams officially began on Tuesday 10 November with 41,690 students across the state taking part in the English exam and another 3,879 sitting the English as an additional language exam.
After having done much of their preparation via remote learning, Year 12 students at St Francis Xavier College carried out their first exam in a socially distant manner with face masks on.
Deputy principal and head of Beaconsfield campus Rebecca Cetrola said senior students had demonstrated “strength, courage and perseverance”.
Ms Cetrola added it was an “outstanding achievement” that the cohort had bravely worked towards the successful completion of their final year during a global pandemic.
“This is something that no other generation of our lifetime has had to endure,” she said.
“At St Francis Xavier College, positive learning partnerships have been evident all year. Students, teachers, and parents have worked in partnership to support our Year 12 students to achieve their best in their final year of secondary education.”
More than 250 students arrived on campus on Tuesday morning to take the very first exam.
“Our students were in good spirits and calm, knowing they have been well supported by our fine team of English teachers,” Ms Cetrola said.
“We wish them all the best as they enter into their VCE examinations and conclude their VCAL studies.”
For Berwick’s Nossal High School school captain Shalaaka, sitting the first exam was a milestone.
“It was good to get one out of the way. It was a hit and miss but overall I didn’t think it was too bad,” she said.
“I think having done the first one now, we know what to expect going into the others in terms of handling our nerves.”
Students at Beaconhills College’s Berwick campus also had a “really positive” start going in to their VCE exams.
A college spokeswoman said students headed into exams after months of preparation, hard work and determination to finish the year successfully.
“Students continued to learn through the periods of remote learning and have been incredibly grateful for the support from their teachers,” she said.
“Our students have demonstrated strength through adversity and we are all very proud of what they have accomplished this year.”
Education Minister James Merlino congratulated students had had persevered despite the many challenges of 2020.
“This has been a year like no other, and the class of 2020 should be especially proud of how far they have come and how much they have achieved,” he said.
“Thank you to all students, their teachers and their families for their hard work, commitment and extraordinary resilience in the lead up to these exams.
“Good luck to all students who are sitting VCE exams in what has been an extremely challenging year.”
Statewide, a total of 83,583 students will sit at least one examination – written, performance or oral – by the time exams finish on 1 December.
Students are set to receive their ATAR results from 7am on Wednesday 30 December.