Twins score dou­ble HSC suc­cess


Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Jil­lian McKee

Mt Druitt twins Elie and Mary-Anne Feghali are cel­e­brat­ing af­ter scor­ing ATARs of 99.1 and 99.7 re­spec­tively in their HSC.

THE Feghali fam­ily is cel­e­brat­ing dou­ble the suc­cess af­ter twins Mary-Anne and Elie scored ATARs above 99 in the HSC.

Elie scored an ATAR of 99.1 while Mary-Anne just pipped him at the post, scor­ing 99.7.

While the sib­lings agreed they were not in com­pe­ti­tion with each other, Mary-Anne said she was sur­prised when she re­ceived the higher score.

“I was ex­pect­ing some­thing in the high 90s but I wasn’t ex­pect­ing that – and I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to beat my brother,” she said.

While the twins went to sep­a­rate high schools – Elie at­tended Sydney Gram­mar School and Mary-Anne went to Hurl­stone Agri­cul­tural High School – they spent much of their time study­ing to­gether.

The twins agreed hav­ing each other made their fi­nal year that bit eas­ier.

Elie said: “It was help­ful to have her there. We worked to­gether and tried to max­imise both our scores rather than com­pete against each other.

“We of­ten had dis­cus­sions about the sub­jects we shared, which were 4-unit maths and chem­istry, and we of­ten went to the li­brary to­gether.”

Mary-Anne said: “In the sub­jects we shared we bounced ideas off each other – it was really en­cour­ag­ing lead­ing up to the ex­ams.”

The twins’ mother Juli­ette said the sib­lings were very sup­port­ive of one an­other through­out the HSC.

“They had each other and that helped them keep mo­ti­vated,” she said. “There was no ri­valry. It was just like a ca­ma­raderie.

“I am very proud of them both. They have al­ways done their best and made my job as a mother very easy.”

The pair agreed they were re­lieved to have their fi­nal year over. They ad­vised fu­ture HSC stu­dents that bal­ance was the key to a good score.

Elie said: “My sched­ule was not too in­ten­sive. I al­ways main­tained a strong bal­ance in my life and made sure I had a break ev­ery now and then.”

Mary-Anne said the key was get­ting enough rest.

“One of the most im­por­tant things is be­ing able to get enough sleep,” she said.

The twins plan to at­tend univer­sity next year, with Mary-Anne look­ing at study­ing a dou­ble de­gree in commerce and law at Sydney Univer­sity and Elie con­sid­er­ing medicine or ac­tu­ar­ial stud­ies at Sydney Univer­sity or UNSW. SHE has not even started Year 12 but Coly­ton’s Crys­tal Lee Smithers has al­ready topped the state in a HSC sub­ject.

The Em­maus Catholic Col­lege stu­dent achieved a band 6 mark of 90 in the re­tail ser­vices exam, beat­ing more than 2300 stu­dents. Crys­tal be­gan her HSC this year in an early com­mence­ment pro­gram for Year 11 stu­dents.

She said she could not be­lieve it when she re­ceived a call from the Board of Stud­ies.

“I was not ex­pect­ing it at all. I was shocked — es­pe­cially as I was very ner­vous dur­ing the exam,” she said.

Crys­tal’s fa­ther Scott Smithers said he was very proud of her ef­forts. “Crys­tal has such a great work ethic, both in school and at work. I am so proud of her,” Mr Smithers said.

Crys­tal, who works three nights a week at Tar­get in St Marys, said the prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence helped her in her exam.

“I ap­plied my knowl­edge from what I do at work to the exam ques­tions and found it to be really help­ful,” she said.

— Jil­lian McKee



Crys­tal-Lee Smithers came first in the HSC re­tail ser­vices exam.

Elie and Mary-Anne Feghali both scored im­pres­sive ATARs in the HSC.

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