Top of the class

Liam Durkin

IN what would have been one of the few days of the year where teenagers were excited to get up at 7am, anxious secondary school students across Victoria set their alarms early to check smartphones and tablets for their VCE results on Friday.

More than 47,000 pupils across the state completed the Victorian Certificate of Education, bringing down the curtain on 13 years of schooling.

For the students, most will begin their tertiary education when university semesters open in March, some will jump straight into work while others will take sabbaticals to travel and explore.

Locally, Gippsland Grammar had another stellar year, with nearly 40 percent of students achieving an ATAR score in excess of 80, placing them in the top 20 percent of the state.

The school’s dux for 2018 was Joshua Strauss, who achieved an ATAR of 99.85.

Others to achieve highly were Sale’s Niamh Van Berkel, who achieved 98.45, Sale’s Jessica Lang on 98.35, Sale’s Millie Dunnett on 98.05, Longford’s Pierce Kidson-Purry on 96.8, Bairnsdale’s Bella Shelton on 96.8, Giffard’s Megan Harrison on 95.05, Bairnsdale’s Jeremy Gunther on 94.15, Nungurner’s Sam Davis on 93.6, Traralgon’s Sahas Wijesekara 93.15 and Traralgon’s Isabelle Stanley on 92.65.

Fourteen percent of Gippsland Grammar students achieved a score above 90, placing them in the top 10 percent in Victoria, whilst the school’s median ATAR was 77.

Principal David Baker expressed his delight at the outstanding results attained by high achieving students, as well as his pride in all those who achieved their own levels of personal excellence.

“We are proud of all of our students and congratulate all those who successfully obtained their VCE or VCAL certificates,” Mr Baker said.

Mr Baker also thanked the dedicated school staff for the support they gave to students over many years.

Catholic College Sale also produced a number of high achieving students, with six registering ATARs more than 90.

Ruth Postlethwaite was awarded the college’s dux, with a score of 96.95, while classmates Caitlin Graham scored 94.6, Hamish Telfer 94.15, Griffan Randle 94, Georgia Bristow 90.10 and Lauren Kinnish 90.

Twenty Catholic College Sale students also secured apprenticeships for 2019, showcasing the diverse range of student qualities.

Principal Chris Randell said a significant number of students received study scores above 40 (50 is the highest possible score for each subject).

He added the entire school was proud of the students who achieved apprenticeships, traineeships and employment.

Sale College principal Brendan Staple offered similar sentiments to his graduating class, saying students had secured pathways beyond secondary schooling in jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships, as well as prospects for future studies.

Rosedale’s Emily Field was awarded Sale College’s dux with a score of 81.85, and aims to pursue her education in biomedical science.

Maffra Secondary College students achieved success across a broad range of subjects, including 60 percent of students gaining study scores of 39 or above in outdoor education.

Adelle O’Doherty was awarded dux with a score of 84.10, and has been pre-accepted into applied science and speech pathology at La Trobe University next year.

“We value developing young people who are  passionate, resilient, respectful and of strong character, and our students this year have done us proud,” Maffra Secondary College principal Adam Hogan said.

Regardless of how well youngsters went in their studies, it is important to remember that ATAR is not a pass or fail but a rank.

It is but one of many factors used by universities, TAFEs and private colleges when selecting students for courses, with admission ATARs generally only dictated by how popular a particular course is.

Statistically, in 2019, only 10 per cent of all courses listed with Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre use the ATAR alone as their criteria.