SCHOOL halls around the south-west and across the state will be packed with hundreds of students on Thursday, each writing furiously to finish the 2012 VCE English exam.
But in Derrinallum just two students will carry their pens and label-less water bottles into the town hall to face the great academic challenge.
With only 91 students in the school yard at Derrinallum P-12, principal Alan Coffey knows personally how both students are dealing with the stress in the lead-up to next Thursday morning.
“They’ve got the right level of nervousness — you don’t want them to be too relaxed but you don’t want them overburdened either,” Mr Coffey said.
“It’s a balancing act.
“It all depends on the needs of a student. Some might need to cram study in, others might need to relax.”
Although only in his third term as the school leader, Mr Coffey said Derrinallum P-12 had a strong record of hitting high marks.
“It’s always in the top VCE results because of the small class sizes and the care for students.”
The school will gather this morning to farewell the students before they take on exams, which stretch through most of November.
Year 12 student Amy Hinchliffe has been at the school since her prep year, while it’s the first year there for fellow student Letesha Parlour.
Mr Coffey said the school had its own traditions for seeing off its departing students — including a cooked breakfast and also something unique.
“One of the senior staff members tells a fairytale modified to include the girls in the story,” Mr Coffey said.
The principal hoped the real story would also have a happy ending.
“I’m sure they’ll do well. They’ve worked very hard,” he said.