Class of COVID: Girls triumph over boys in NSW's HSC 2020
The girls have completely smashed the boys in the Higher School Certificate first in course results, in one of the most challenging years on record.
It comes as this year's Year 12 class has been struck by coronavirus school closures, bushfires and bomb threats.
A total of 44 boys came first in their course this year - about half of the total number of 82 girls who placed first in their course.
A total of 126 students will receive an award, with seven of the recipients topping more than one course.
James Ruse Agricultural High School was one of the state's best schools, taking out six best in course awards.
That included two equal first for agriculture, one for chemistry, Mathematics Extension 2, Music 2 and Physics.
One student, Sariena Ye, impressively came first in two very difficult subjects of Physics and Chemistry.
Newcastle schools performed well with the selective Merewether High taking out two top spots for French and Ancient History while comprehensive Lambton High School took out the top spot for first in English Standard.
In Sydney, non-selective schools including Cherrybrook High School also had pleasing results, with star student Andrew Malcolm placing first in Mathematics Standard course.
At Fort St High School academic powerhouse Eszter Violet Coombs took out three top gongs - one for first in English Extension 2 and another two for Spanish continuers and Spanish Extension which she completed at the NSW School of Languages in Petersham.
Chae-Weon Lee from the Conservatorium High School also came first in more than one course, taking out the top spot in German Beginners and Music Extension.
Meriden School in Strathfield also had a strong showing, with student Belinda Ji placing first in Community and Family Studies, Christiana May Stone coming first in Spanish Beginners while Olivia Arvanitis came equal first in Biology.
Jemima Kingston from Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College in North Sydney took out the top spot for both Italian Continuers and Italian Extension while Alice Knox from the same school topped the state in Visual Arts.
As in previous years, Sydney Grammar School delivered the goods - taking out four awards including for equal first in Biology for Sebastian Judge, along with gongs for Mason Ginters in Modern History, and Oscar Eichmann for Classical Greek Continuers and Classical Greek Extension.
Ahead of today's first in-course ceremony, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said students studying the HSC this year had endured one of the most challenging years in a generation.
"In a normal year finishing first in an HSC course is an outstanding achievement, and to do so in a year like 2020, is a credit to the dedication and talent of the students being recognised today," Ms Berejiklian said.
"Congratulations to the exceptional young people who achieved top marks this year, I am sure your teachers, family and friends are incredibly proud of you."
Originally published as Class of COVID: Girls triumph over boys in HSC 2020