When Jozo Frankovic wasn't organising school activities, playing in a Croatian musical ensemble or involved in school captaincy duties, he was "studying for hours upon hours", and it paid off.
The Holy Spirit College Bellambi student scored a 97.6 Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
"I was aiming for 95, so I am over the moon," he said.
He said the secret to his success was "time management and getting down to business".
When hundreds of students throughout NSW were waking early yesterday morning to discover their results, Jozo slept in, not letting the pressure get to him.
"There was a lot of hype about the HSC, but it's not the be all and end all."
"The ATAR is not a magic number, it's an important measure of hard work."
Jozo has been offered a cadetship with the University of Wollongong that will begin next February.
He hopes to study commerce and law.
Fellow school captain Jess Hinde achieved an ATAR of 96.3, which astounded her.
"I was honestly not expecting a mark in the 90s," she said.
"I was home alone when I found out. I called my mum and she cried, then I called dad to tell him and he said 'Is that good?' It was gorgeous."
She hopes to study health science and eventually medicine.
"I had been fretting about the HSC since year seven. It was definitely hard, but I could handle it."
Breana Macpherson-Rice and Jasmine Tobia were also among high achievers at Holy Spirit College, scoring ATARs of 97.75 and 95.45 respectively.
Both agreed their hard study had paid off.