TEXT books and notes are strewn around what was the family study as this Year 12 student prepares for the biggest exams of her school life.
Most HSC students and their families can to relate to St John Paul College student Ellie Hewitt as she prepares for the first exam on Thursday: English Paper 1.
Having watched her siblings complete the HSC and thrive post-school, Ellie is grounded by the fact the university rank, the ATAR, doesn't define you.
Grades weren't the centre of Ellie's school universe; the former school captain bridged the school and broader community through her involvement in fundraising efforts.
"It enhances the whole high school experience because it is about so much more than going to school and getting grades."
A trip to Malawi inspired Ellie to pursue a career with non-government organisations.