Just when you thought getting a pen license was the height of maturation at school, along came Rachel Dunstan.
The photography and digital media teacher at Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts handed out 17 charcoal licenses earlier this year.
Now the fruits of her Year 11 students' labour are on display in the halls of the Fairy Meadow school.
The results, Ms Dunstan said, are "just stunning".
"The project was a confronting one in a way as it's a self-portrait and is all about identity," she explained.
"It means I had to do a full photography session with each student to make sure they felt comfortable looking at themselves for an entire term."
From those photographs emerged the very individual works.
Dechen Sherpa, a member of the school's gifted and talented program called The Art Collective, spent about 30 hours on her portrait.
'Honestly, I'm really proud how it finished up. To start with it was confronting but I was pleased with the end result," she said.
"We've done portraits of other people, but not self-portraits.
"In preparation, we had to draw a self-portrait from memory as an exercise and that was very confronting.
For another Year 11 student, Natalie Greenlees, her experience was at the other end of the scale.
"This is my first art assignment ... I only just joined the course now.
"In one way it was very scary, but I got more comfortable with everything and ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would," Ms Greenlees said, before giving her work an 8.5 out of 10.
While the visual arts students are now onto a painting project, they were appreciative of the foundation working with charcoal provides.
"It's really good that they let us expand our horizons and figure out what mediums we like before we do the HSC," Ms Sherpa said.
It's not a happy coincidence, Ms Dunstan explained.
"History has shown us that students who do well in this task will often do it for their HSE and often get some very good marks."
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