HSC: Italian inspiration

Max with his sister

The wait for HSC results can be an anxious time for many students, but for 18-year-old Max Cleversley from Macksville High School it was the perfect time to reconnect with the place that first ignited his passion for learning.

For the past three weeks, Max has been volunteering at Medlow Public School in Taylors Arm on the mid north coast, a school with eight students where Max started his schooling journey in Kindergarten 12 years ago.

"My youngest sister, Georgianna, attends Medlow Public School and I wanted to reconnect with the school while also spending time with her before I leave for university next year," Max said.

"It's been a great opportunity to provide the students with another role model to look up to while allowing me to learn from an entirely different perspective.  

"I think the best moment was witnessing students presenting the school captain speeches I had been helping them prepare - I just felt incredibly proud of how far they had all come and I am honoured to have been a part of that."

Max's schooling career is full of achievements and he has demonstrated significant determination to achieving his academic goals by making the most of every opportunity provided to him at Macksville High School.

"Receiving the position of school captain at Macksville High and having the opportunity to reconnect with my Italian heritage are probably my proudest achievements," he said.  

"My great-grandmother was of Sicilian heritage but she died when I was quite young so I was really pleased to discover I could study Italian through distance education.

"This opportunity further ignited my passion for the Italian language and culture which ultimately resulted in me receiving the Mama Lena and Dino Gustin Foundation Scholarship through the Public Education Foundation.

"The scholarship allowed me to undertake a six-week intensive language program at an international school in Rome - an opportunity I will forever cherish."

Years of dedication have paid off for Max, who today found out he had made the Distinguished Achievers List in two subjects – English (Advanced) and Geography – and also secured an 89 for Italian.

"I'm really happy with my results, I'm stoked," Max said.

"When I logged on and saw my results I was screaming and my mum came running in asking what was wrong," he added laughing.

Asked about the secret to his academic success, Max said the key was a "positive attitude".

"How you feel towards your education is going to define your experience and your results," Max said. "If you don't believe in yourself you will never reach your full potential."

Max hopes to study International Security/Languages at the Australian National University but for now, he just wants to relax and spend as much time with his family as possible before he leaves for university next year.

  • Max is pictured with his sister Georgianna.

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