VCE: nervous wait over for Ballarat students

GALLERY: Ballarat region's top performers, school by school

The nerves, the excitement, the fear, the trepidation – two years of hard work dissolved yesterday morning as hundreds of Ballarat VCE students accessed their study scores online or via text message.

Students also received their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), a key plank required for entering most undergraduate university courses in Australia.

Ballarat students performed particularly well in 2012, with many schools boasting students with an ATAR higher than 90 per cent of all VCE students.

Half of all Ballarat and Clarendon College’s 147 VCE students received an ATAR above 90, while the school’s nine top performers achieved scores of 99 or higher.

Ballarat Grammar students also performed well, with six students achieving an ATAR of 99 or above and 19 receiving a result of 95 or above.

Grammar student Siobhan Tobin was also the top performer in Ballarat, with an ATAR of 99.90.

Mt Clear College dux Christine Ebbs said she was “really surprised” by her lofty ATAR of 98.05, while Ballarat High School’s dux Kate Ditchburn said she was looking forward to travelling on a gap year before putting her high score of 94.65 to use a year later.

Christine studied Japanese, maths methods, literature, chemistry, English, specialist maths and history.

She said she was proud to show that students at public schools could still achieve high results.

Hoping for any score above 90, the 18-year-old said she was in shock when she got a text message in the morning and a phone call soon after to confirm she was the college dux.

“I’m so proud to achieve what I did. I’m especially proud of my teachers because they worked so hard for me and I owe so much to them,” Christine said

“I jumped online immediately to double check because I thought somebody could’ve been pulling a prank.”

Christine now has her sights set on an arts degree at the University of Melbourne, where she hopes to live at one of the residential colleges.

St Patrick’s College dux James Fahey said his score of 99.85 justified his year of extremely hard work.

James recalled one long weekend where he studied 40 hours in three days, as well as “calmer” weekends when he averaged 25 hours over the two days.

Desperate to achieve a score above 95, he will now realise his dream of studying science at Monash University.

“I took every opportunity I could to study, which would normally be about four or five hours each night. Now I can relax and stop stressing,” he said. “My family have really supported me and kept me sane throughout the whole year.

“The teachers and the school were amazing as well.

“They devote so much to seeing you achieve, I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I studied all the sciences at school so to know I will be able to study it at uni is a real relief.”

Clarendon College principal David Shepherd said there was a message for students who might not have got the ATAR they were expecting.

“They know this is just the beginning and some of them will get into courses that won’t suit them, but they’ll change,” he said.

Ballarat Grammar headmaster Stephen Higgs spoke about a recent visit to his school from a professor of microbiology, who told students he originally failed both chemistry and physics.

“This (the ATAR) is only one step towards students’ futures,” he said.

Statewide, girls once again outperformed boys overall in the VCE, but boys continued to dominate the top result.

Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) director Elaine Wenn said of the 37 students receiving the top score of 99.95, more than half were boys.

Printed VCE and ATAR results will begin arriving in the post from today.

jordan.oliver@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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