HSC Results 2020 - A Message from the Headmaster - Cranbrook School

HSC Results 2020 - A Message from the Headmaster

18 Dec 20 by Nicholas Sampson, Headmaster


It is with tremendous admiration that I review the manner in which our Year 12 Class of 2020 has handled the exceptional challenges, changes and cancellations forced by circumstance throughout this most unusual year. Year 12 comprises the peak experiences at the end of one’s voyage through school and whilst external examinations present powerful challenges to each Year 12 generation, never has it been more clear that statistical results form but part of the story when assessing the achievements, growth, qualities and character of an individual and of a group. The way in which our Senior students of 2020 cared for one another, sustained academic ambition, maintained good humour, adapted to rapidly changing circumstances and led the School by example speaks eloquently of their harvest of the fruits of a rounded, humane and liberal education. I am grateful to each of them.

We are also delighted that over a quarter of the cohort received unconditional offers of university placements to study an impressive range of courses prior to the publication of their HSC results.  Their achievement reflects the School’s focus upon the development of breadth as a springboard to specialist academic ambition: our goal is to foster the capacity to thrive at university and beyond in formal education and in wider life. It is vital that our graduating students reflect upon all that they have learnt, both within the curriculum and beyond, at this particular point in their individual voyages when so much attention is focussed upon simple scores and statistics.

On behalf of all the Cranbrook community, I wish you all tremendous success in the next chapter of your lives and hope you take with you the lifelong love of learning, intellectual versatility and warmth of spirit that we hope to have cultivated with you during your time here.


Our placing in the Sydney Morning Herald academic rankings is at 36th position in 2020, which is a fantastic achievement for a non-selective School and continues a consistent trend of Cranbrook ranking in the top 40 Schools over the past few years. We are currently the 3rd ranked non-selective independent boys School in NSW. 

It was with great pride that we today welcomed back to the campus many of our Year 12 students for a BBQ to share their news, celebrate their achievements and their next steps. I remain most grateful to my colleagues who have worked so tirelessly to help this set of Cranbrookians carve out their pathways in what has been one of the most extraordinary years we have all experienced.

I am delighted to share with you the reactions and excitement of a few of the boys today in the video below.

I have also recorded a personal message for our HSC students regarding their future endeavours which you can watch below.

Congratulations to Cosmo MacKenzie named as Dux of Cranbrook School 2020 with an ATAR of 99.9. This is an incredible achievement and reflective of Cosmo’s outstanding capabilities and focus. His ATAR is the product of a disciplined approach to his studies throughout his time at School and he wholeheartedly deserves our congratulations.

Julian Davis is our Proxime Accessit for 2020 with an ATAR of 99.85. Congratulations Julian!

At the time of this HSC Results message, we are aware of the following outstanding ATARs and congratulate these boys on their achievement.

We offer particular congratulations to Joshua Abelev who, as an accelerated student, topped the State in Mathematics Advanced: his is a remarkable achievement in this most testing of disciplines.

Our Dux, Cosmo MacKenzie has placed second in the State in Latin Continuers. A wonderful achievement. 

In recent years, Cranbrook boys have secured leading places in NSW in a broad variety of subjects, including English Advanced, English Extension 1, English Extension 2, Chinese Continuers, Visual Arts and Design & Technology and now Mathematics Advanced and Latin Continuers which again reflects Cranbrook’s commitment to the principles of liberal education, the encouragement of a love of the pursuit of excellence and an appreciation of the integrity of differences.

Students who are eligible for naming on the HSC All Round Achievers List have gained 90% or better in ten or more HSC units. This year 16 Cranbrook boys achieved a place on this prestigious list. Congratulations to the following boys.

The Distinguished Achievers List names students who have scored 90% or above in a subject to receive a merit (Band 6 Result) in one or more subjects. Cranbrook boys gained 249 merits in total, including 81 in all Mathematics courses and 44 in all English courses.

Of the 154 Year 12 Cranbrook boys who sat HSC courses this year, 104 students have been placed on the Distinguished Achievers List in at least one subject. Congratulations to these boys named below.

From our initial analysis we are proud to advise that the following courses have achieved exceptional results.

Our performance across the creative studies is to be highly commended this year. We have achieved exceptional results in Design & Technology and Drama in particular.


The following boys were nominated for possible inclusion in OnSTAGE for their Drama Individual Performances. OnSTAGE is the showcase of exemplary HSC performances from across the state.

An incredible 9 of 13 Drama individual performances have been nominated for possible inclusion in OnSTAGE, the annual showcase of outstanding HSC Drama works.

Tom Backwell, Brighton Beach MemoirsMaximilian Bradford, DougieMitchell Caponas, LuckyWilliam Clunies-Ross, The Curse of the Starving ClassMatthew Cussen, The PillowmanOscar Czernuszyn, MalvolioToby May, EddyLachlan McGregor, Stag-doHugo Panizza, ACL


The Music Department had Yangda Bei nominated for his Euphonium recital for Music 2 and Extension Programme for possible inclusion in ENCORE, a selection of outstanding performances and compositions from HSC music students from across the state. ENCORE is scheduled to be held in early 2021.


The SHAPE exhibition features a selection of exemplary Major Projects from HSC Design and Technology, Industrial Technology and Textiles and Design students. In 2020 the following boys were nominated for possible inclusion in SHAPE.

Matthew Cussen - Ridesafe – a medical SOS unit for motorcycle riders.  The product provides basic first aid as a temporary measure whilst waiting for professional emergency services. As a secondary function, Ridesafe features an in-built crash detector to alert emergency contacts through a specialised App to increase the rate of response by showing a geolocation of the accident.

Paddy Power - Airline – a surf life vest for Big Wave surfers. Airline is a wetsuit vest that has built-in floatation as well an integrated oxygen canister, that will allow the user to access oxygen on demand during a big wave wipeout. The device eliminates the risk of drowning.

Alexander Strong - Oxymoov - a scuba transportation solution for divers. The OxyMoov is collapsible so it can fit into the back of a van and can carry equipment for two divers such as dive tanks and weights, and can also carry an essential first aid diving kit to a dive site. It operates through the use of specialised tracks at the rear that are powered electrically to transport equipment over different terrain.

We were delighted to hear this week that Matthew Langsam was selected for SHAPE, for his medical oxygen reel device, Oxyreel. Oxyreel is designed to be an innovative wearable technology that provides the user a portable system to easily and quickly retract any desired length of oxygen tubing, eliminating chances of a tripping hazard. The exhibition will be at the Powerhouse Museum from 26 February to 9 May 2021.


InTech is an exhibition of outstanding Major Projects from HSC Industrial Technology students. Cranbrook School had William Begg’s Major Work, Industrial Fold-Out Bar,nominated for InTech in 2020. William’s project was made from Tasmanian Oak and the purpose of the fold-out bar was to create an entertaining space within the home. The major work used a large array of joinery techniques, the bar was sanded immaculately and hard burnishing oil was applied to finish the project.

I am sure on reflection of these results that you will join me in commending our Year 12 leavers.

Further detailed analysis will take place as we receive full information over coming weeks, and will share the full results with you in the New Year.

I wish to, on behalf of the whole Cranbrook community, extend our heartfelt wish that the HSC results and ATAR you have obtained will provide the pathway through to a prosperous career with a focus that will bring you immense joy and satisfaction.

To the Class of 2020 all that is left for me to say is I wish you all the very best in your next endeavour and that you look forward with optimism, and with confidence because whatever your results new doors will open.