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The Y unlocks power of exercise for stressed-out students

The YMCA NSW (the Y) congratulates Year 12 on the end of their HSC, with a special nod to the those who worked-out at the Y for free during exams. 

With exams done and dusted as of today, CEO of the Y Susannah Le Bron says the Take the Pressure Off initiative supported the generation feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic most profoundly. 

“Over the past six weeks, the Y welcomed HSC students into 16 of our recreation and aquatic centres across NSW and the ACT free of charge, so they could tap into the incredible healing power of exercise and community connection,” Ms Le Bron said. 

“Money should never be a barrier to good health. We are proud to have helped almost 200 young people find a sense of balance, perspective and calm at the Y while completing that final, stressful hurdle of High School.

“After being the guinea pigs for online learning during this critical year, Year 12s are now facing so much uncertainty with the job market constricting, university fees changing, gap year travel plans thrown out the window and social rites of passage moving online or canned.

“These inspiring and resilient young adults are now on track with healthy habits and new fitness communities to support them and help tackle whatever 2021 throws their way!” 

A total of 194 HSC students made the most of the initiative and hit the books harder because of it.

Jemma Abernethy, 18, attended the Y Mount Annan Leisure Centre and thanked the Y for the opportunity. 

“It has allowed me to spend some time away from my study while still allowing me to be productive with my day. It's also been so enjoyable being able to spend some time with my friends at the gym,” she said. 


Best friends and HSC students Lauren and Meg working out at the Broken Hill Integrated Wellness Centre


In regional NSW, best friends Lauren Kuerschner and Meg Butcher took time off from their casual jobs at the Y Broken Hill Integrated Wellness Centre to work out twice every day during the exam period.  

“We missed out on a lot of things this year. It is what it is, but it hasn’t really felt real. Among all that change, having four of our exams back-to-back was pretty overwhelming,” Lauren said. 

“Being at the gym really helps clear your mind. The community at the Y is so inviting and fun, you want to go there to see people,” Meg said. 

Both girls will now spend their gap years working for the Y in Customer Service and Lifeguard roles having both now completed school-based traineeships in business administration. 

Today marks the completion of 120 written examinations, with 68,673 students set to receive their HSC this year according to the NSW Education Standards Authority. 

To find out how you can connect with the Y in your community visit:

Interviews available with 2020 HSC students and CEO of the Y NSW Susannah Le Bron 

CAPTION 1: HSC students Jemma Abernethy and Erin Radl taking the pressure off at Mount Annan Leisure Centre

CAPTION 2: Lauren Kuerschner and Meg Butcher leant on their Broken Hill Integrated Wellness Centre community for support throughout Year 12 

MEDIA | Madeleine Clarke 0400 974 816 or Andrew Williams 0439 427 522

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