Minister awards 2013 HSC in Modern Greek

The ceremony saw students receive a Certificate for Excellence from the Minister in front of their families and senior representatives from across the education sectors.

2013 highlights include:

Modern Greek Beginners
Rhonda Douroukis – Georges River College Oatley Senior Campus

Modern Greek Continuers
Fotini Kapsabelis – St Spyridon College (Maroubra)

Modern Greek Extension
Dionisia Kolevris – Open High School (RANDWICK)

Classical Greek Continuers
Kim Zhang – Pymble Ladies’ College

Over 70,000 students will have access to their HSC results from 6.00am tomorrow (Wednesday 18 December).

Results are available online and by SMS using a secure system requiring a Student Number and HSC PIN. For more information on HSC results go to

The Board of Studies HSC Results Inquiry Centre 1300 13 83 23 will be open from 9 am for students with questions about their HSC results.

Minister awards 2013 HSC first in course recipients


Media release

The Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli today presented 2013 HSC students with First in Course Awards at an event at Australian Technology Park.

“Any student who receives their HSC has worked hard, and I congratulate all students who have completed their exams this year,” Mr Piccoli said.

“HSC courses are demanding and the assessment and examination process is designed to challenge students.

“To claim the First in Course spot is a great honour for these students, and they, their teachers and their families should be very proud.

“The First in Course Awards acknowledge the highest achieving student in each HSC course, where the result is in the highest possible band for that course.

“The HSC is a world-class credential and coming first demonstrates and extremely high level of achievement on an international level.

“Completing the HSC requires immense dedication from students, and support from both teachers and parents,” Mr Piccoli said.

The ceremony saw students receive a Certificate for Excellence from the Minister in front of their families and senior representatives from across the education sectors.

2013 highlights include:

Awards made to 121 students in 112 courses

Equal first place in nine courses

Three students receiving a First in Course Award for more than one course

83 of the 121 recipients are young women, and 38 are young men

12 students live in regions outside of Sydney, including students from: Inverell, Grafton, Hermidale, Coonamble, Griffith, Wagga Wagga, and two students from Cooma.

This year marked the first examination of the Financial Services course. This course is designed to provide students with skills and knowledge to seek a job straight from school or as a sound foundation for higher level education or university studies.

Over 70,000 students will have access to their HSC results from 6.00am tomorrow (Wednesday 18 December).

Results are available online and by SMS using a secure system requiring a Student Number and HSC PIN. For more information on HSC results go to

The Board of Studies HSC Results Inquiry Centre 1300 13 83 23 will be open from 9 am for students with questions about their HSC results.

List of students who won awards

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Hunter students top HSC courses

HUNTER and Central Coast students have outperformed tens of thousands of their peers to top traditional and vocational courses in the Higher School Certificate.

Lambton High School student Claire Brooks has come first in the state for Earth and Environmental Science, St Philip’s Christian College, Waratah, student Daniel Lee holds the state’s top spot in Construction and TAFE Hunter Institute student Ashlie Fisher came first in the Entertainment Industry exam.

St Joseph’s Catholic College East Gosford student Maddie Doorn has topped the Studies of Religion I exam.

The four students were honoured at a First In Course awards ceremony in Sydney on Tuesday.

Awards were given to 121 students- including 83 young women and 38 young men- in 112 courses.

Daniel, 18, of Maryland said he chose to study Construction to further his plans to work with an aid agency in poverty relief.

”I just always wanted to do it: I did a few mission trips with Aboriginal communities when I was younger and I’ve got a heart for it,” he said.

“I’ve just got back from Vanuatu where I went instead of schoolies to build a playground for a school.”

Daniel said he studied most for Construction because it wasn’t his strongest subject.

“I laughed when I heard I came first, I wasn’t feeling confident about it so I was shocked.”

He has been offered a scholarship to study for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Poverty and Development Studies at Avondale College at Cooranbong next year.

Aspiring film director Ashlie Fisher, 18, of Belmont North travelled every Tuesday afternoon from Warners Bay High to TAFE Hunter Institute at Tighes Hill to study Entertainment Industry, in which she now holds a Certificate III qualification.

She volunteered at Starstruck and Newcastle Writer’s Festival as part of her work placement and has applied what she learned to her part time job at Hoyts Charlestown.

“I’ve always loved Steven Spielberg films, so he is a big inspiration,” she said.

“I went well in trials so was pretty confident when I walked into the exam and pretty happy when I came out, but I didn’t expect this, this is amazing.”

She said the award was “the icing on the cake” after being accepted to study at the Australian Film Television and Radio school from next year.

Claire Brooks, 18, of Elemore Vale had to double check there hadn’t been a mistake when told of her achievement.

“I’ve always done pretty well but it was a shock to be first,” she said.

Claire said she had been fascinated by volcanoes, earthquakes and plate tectonics since she was a child.

She used mind maps to remember course content, which she hopes she will continue to build on with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Earth and Environmental Science and geology at the University of Newcastle.

Claire’s father Anthony, also a science enthusiast, passed away this year.

“I know he would be really happy, my mum and sister are proud of me and amazed I did so well.”

Claire was also awarded this year the Reuben F Scarf Award for Commitment to studies and the Ashley Sands Memorial Award for achieving first place in her grade in Earth and Environmental Science.

“I’m a little bit nervous about the results coming out on Wednesday, but excited too.”

Maddie Doorn, 17, of Bateau Bay said she had enjoyed learning about the history of religion, including how it developed and was expressed.

“But I actually put more effort into other subjects, so this was a nice surprise.”

The NSW Institute of Sport scholarship holder divided her time this year between studying and representing her state in basketball, having also been selected to the under 19 Australian squad.

She hopes to study physiotherapy next year at the University of Sydney or the Australian Catholic University.

NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli said HSC courses were demanding and the assessment and examination process was designed to challenge students.

“The HSC is a world- class credential and coming first demonstrates an extremely high level of achievement on an international level.”

Ice cream hits the spot at CanTeen

Source: Sunshinecoast

THE daily stresses of living with cancer were washed away with a scoop of ice cream by the beach for a group young people visiting the Sunshine Coast.

Wendy’s Ice Cream brought a sweet treat to 65 children and teenagers having a break at Dicky Beach as part of the annual CanTeen Summer Program yesterday.

Smooth and creamy ice cream was taken from the freezer, across the sand to the group in a surprise delivery.

The children spent the warm summer’s day at the Caloundra beach playing games and swimming on the second last day of the camp.

CanTeen is an organisation which supports, develops and empowers young people living with cancer.

The organisation runs the five-day overnight programs to provide much-needed relief for these young Australians.

An extra 23,000 young people every year have to face the challenge of dealing with cancer – whether they’ve been diagnosed themselves or a parent, brother or sister has the disease.

“A cancer diagnosis threatens the security of a young person’s world, leaving them feeling vulnerable, frightened and confused,” CanTeen programs officer Jaimie Trotter said.

“Attending a CanTeen program gives our members the chance to meet other young people who truly understand what they’re going through while also having some fun.

“The programs are free to attend and that’s why we’re so grateful for every donation we receive from the community and our corporate supporters such as Wendy’s.

“The programs wouldn’t be possible without them.”

Christmas brings out Aussie stars: Mary Coustas and Naomi Watts go shopping in Coogee

Source: DailyTelegraph

Surprising pals ... Naomi Watts with Mary Coustas doing some grocery shopping in Coogee / Picture: Matrix Media Group

Surprising pals … Naomi Watts with Mary Coustas doing some grocery shopping in Coogee / Picture: Matrix Media Group Source: Supplied

NAOMI Watts and Nicole Kidman are the famous BFFs, but the King Kong actress caught up with a surprising pal while grocery shopping yesterday.

Watts was snapped running errands in Coogee with comedian and new mum Mary Coustas, aka Effie.

Clearly fond of her friend, The Diana actor recently praised Coustas’s book, All I Know: A Memoir of Love, Loss And Life, which reflected on the deaths of her father, grandmother and daughter.

“Mary’s book is a reminder that we don’t have to be alone with grief. I loved it,” Watts wrote.

The Aussie celebs are certainly enjoying being back home over Christmas and surrounded by family and their A-list friends.

Watts, partner Liev Schreiber, and their two sons Sasha, 6, and Samuel, 4, joined Simon Baker and his wife Rebecca Rigg and their two sons – Claude, 15, and Harry, 12 – for a traditional Aussie barbecue.

To add to the celebrity Christmas extravaganza, Brad Pitt is rumoured to be flying into Sydney to spend the holidays with Angelina Jolie and their six children, who have been living Down Under while she films Unbroken.


All I Know: A memoir of love, loss and life

All I know - image

All I know “A memoir of love, loss and life” by Mary Coustas
Reviewed By Katerina

Mary Coustas, one of Australia’s most famous comedians known for her wacky role as “Effie” (that girl with the crazy hair) in “Acropolis  Now.  Takes  us into her private world….

It begins in her early childhood, growing up in multicultural  Collingwood, then later on in formal Doncaster, with her parents and her brother, Con. It was a typical  fun-loving Greek household. Though sadly, her beloved  father, who she adored, suffered constantly from heart attacks. It was a reminder to Mary, how precious life was, even at a young age. Mary was an outsider at school, trying to make friends. It wasn’t easy for a normal average Greek girl. But with the love and support from her family, Mary later discovered a passion from acting.  She went to university and got her degree, and met many friends, including Nick Giannopulos  from (Acropolis now)  and her adopted sister, as she calls her.

Sadly at the loss of her father and her Giagia (Grandmother from Greece). She also tells us of her journey to her homeland in Greece, meeting up with her huge relatives, some with humorous anecdotes that make you smile with laughter.

And final meeting her future husband George,who was fighting to get custody of his son, Max,from his previous marriage. Then the loss of their precious stillborn  daughter Stevie. Amongst all, Mary never  gave up hope that one day she will have a family, even though doctor’s told her she couldn’t conceive anymore children.

I fully recommend  reading this extraordinary novel, with a box of tissues in hand, as you get involved in her story…as I did.

”I wasn’t prepared for the breast pump!”: Peter Andre on becoming a father for the third time


The Mysterious Girl singer reveals he had a meltdown in Mothercare

Naw. Don't they look lovely together?

Naw. Don’t they look lovely together?

Peter Andre has revealed he wasn’t ready for the trials and tribulations that come with breast-feeding.

The Mysterious Girl singer told OK Magazine: “I had a meltdown in Mothercare. I wasn’t prepared for the breast pump, I nearly passed out when I saw it.

“This is the first time I’ll experience breast-feeding, so I needed to ask lots about that.”

Peter, who already has a son, Junior, 8, and a daughter, six-year-old Princess, with first wife Katie Price, is expecting his first child with girlfriend Emily in January.

Speaking about the sex of their baby, Peter said: “I did want a boy because I always dreamed of taking him fishing and things. I’m so close to Princess and Junior and they offer different things.

“Junior loves fishing and Princess likes making cakes and drawing. Princess has said, though, that if it’s not a girl, she’s not interested because she only has brothers and is desperate for a sister! But I’d be happy with either. We are so blessed.”

OK! Cover 31.12.13

“I feel bad saying I’d like one or the other because the most important thing is for the baby to be healthy,” Emily added. “But part of me would love a girl because with four brothers, I’ve grown up with football, rugby and cricket. I’d love a girl to take to ballet. But at least I know how to deal with boys!”

The 24-year-old medical student reveals her parents were delighted when she told them she was pregnant.

“They were excited. They love kids and have five of their own, plus my mum is a paediatrician. I’ve got such a good relationship with my parents, so I knew they’d be lovely about it. I called my mum as soon as I found out.”

She added: “They were so happy and excited for us, but of course they thought about my degree. But we booked a meeting with the university to go over it. That was the only serious discussion we had. They were never upset. And it happens quite regularly at uni apparently!”

Muslim gardener reports ‘George Michael’ warning


George Michael and a praying Muslim man. File photo montage: AP, Mrehan/Flickr, TL

A gardener in Gothenburg who said he suffered months of racist and sexual abuse at work has taken his case to Sweden’s equality watchdog, stating he was told to cut his Islamic beard to resemble George Michael in order not to upset “racist Swedes”.

The alleged abuse began at the interview stage, as the man was told he would have to cut his beard to work at the company. “Swedes are racist, ” the employer said. Therefore it was necessary for the man to cut his beard as “we work for a Swedish company”.

When a case worker from Sweden’s National Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen), who was helping the gardener with his application, stepped in to ask the employer what exactly the company meant by its requirement that the job seeker trim his beard, he was told the man’s facial hair should be “like George Michael”.

The allegations, laid out in an official report submitted to the Swedish Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen – DO) earlier this year, also claimed that the Employment Agency staffer then urged the man “to tidy himself up a bit” and accept the employer’s demands, and also said the employer probably just had “a sense of humour”.

While the man did trim his beard, he has stated that he felt uneasy with the decision. He had also asked that he be allowed to take breaks during work, when other employees took time off to smoke, in order for him to pray.

At first, he was part of a team at work with many other Muslims who prayed together. But within one month, the employer’s irritation at his praying and a litany of jokes about his beard and several vulgar comments with sexual content began to mar his employment.

“(The boss) and other colleagues started asking when NNN was going to shave off his beard,” read the official complaint to. The document contained reference to the sexual banter that the man found deeply offensive, and which he later recorded to prove he was being mistreated. Among other things, the man was asked about his sexual interactions with woman and about the size of his genitalia.

“NNN attempts to ignore the harassment by looking away and ignoring the questions. In the end he says he is not comfortable with the questions.”

DO has now asked the man’s employer to answer a long list of questions about the work place environment and whether there were steps taken to ensure discrimination did not take place. DO is a government agency that seeks to combat discrimination on grounds of sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.

“Have you taken any action due to the harassment? Describe the review with dates and included any documentation,” the DO letter stated. “What did the review find? Were NNN and others informed of the review and what it found? Have you spoken to NNN about whether he needs support and help?”

The jibes and the taunts about the man’s beard continued as summer arrived. When he scratched his beard, he was told to stop because “it scares the Swedes”. Another employee threatens to beat him if he scratched his beard again, the complaint to DO stated.

His employer also increasingly took issue with the man taking a break to pray, leaving his increasingly stressed out employee to sneak off to the woods to pray – which is required five times daily by observant Muslims. The employer also said he had to quit praying at night, because it would affect his performance at work. Citing the same reason, the employer said the man was not allowed to fast during Ramadan.

“NNN’s view is that it has always been clear to the employer and his colleagues that he is a practicing Muslim,” the complaint read. “That NNN is forced to stop fasting and is not allowed to pray at his place of work is linked to his religious affiliation(…) Furthermore, non-religions colleagues are allowed to take more “smoking breaks” while NNN cannot take an equally long break to pray.”

NNN’s legal representative with the Gothenburg Human Rights Center (Göteborgs rättighetscenter, GRC) said she would not comment on the case until DO had issued its official ruling.