Meet Ballarat’s top VCE scorers below
For 1200 Ballarat teens, 13 years of schooling and an intense final year of high school came down to a final number yesterday.
For a dozen Ballarat students their outstanding results came with an extra honour, being named the dux of their school.
Ballarat Grammar school captain Kimia Mohammadsaeedi was one of 36 students across the state to record a perfect ATAR of 99.95, and admits to screaming when she saw her result.
“Last night I told my mum to please open it, and I could hear her hyperventilating outside my door at 7am – then mum put the screen to my face and I just screamed,” she said.
While confident of achieving a good result, Kimia did not ever dream of the highest score.
“I didn’t think it was possible because I tend to underestimate myself. It seemed like an implausibly huge number.”
Scoring 99.95 also saw Kimia offered a Chancellor’s Scholarship to the University of Melbourne which will fulfil her dream of studying medicine, in particular gastroenterology.
More than 64,000 students across the state received their VCE or Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) results via an app, email or online from 7am on Friday. A record 50,944 students graduated with their VCE in 2018, and 13,091 students with their VCAL.
At Phoenix P-12 Community College the whole school was celebrating the ATAR scores which saw the highest average ATAR, highest average study scores and highest English study scores in the school’s history.
School dux Joel Dyer scored 95.05 and is looking toward the stars for his future career.
“I want to do a Bachelor of Science Advanced Research Honours at Monash. From a young age I’ve been in to space and astronomy and physics, and now I want to be a theoretical physicist,” he said.
“Knowing so much about things that no one else knows, and the thought of finding something that no one else has seen before that’s the coolest thing to me.”
All students should be incredibly proud of their achievements and now be looking forward to their future, whether that be tertiary study, employment, a gap year, work or travel.Victorian Tertiary Admission Centre director Catherine Wills
Phoenix P-12 Community College principal Karen Snibson said the results were reward for a massive effort from staff and students to change the learning culture of the school.
“We’ve worked incredibly hard making sure we meet every child at their point of need with really strong study support and targeting support around achieving their personal best,” she said.
A VCE tutor has been working with students throughout the year and the 2018 year 12s have had a more extensive exam preparation program than ever before.
“We know our kids have got the capacity for great results and our efforts have been about lifting how we work as a school and what our focus is and to be a serious learning school that enables or kids and staff to meet their potential.”
At Mount Clear Secondary College, Alison Kemp scored 98.8 and is hedging her bets on a future career with the hope of being offered a place in the double degree Law Honours and Science at Monash University.
“I hope to either become a lawyer and possibly go down the path of being a magistrate or judge, or move toward going in to immunology and cancer research and looking how we can use materials to make people’s lives better,” she said.
Alison, part of Mount Clear’s SEAL accelerated learning program, completed her VCE over two years which enabled her to complete eight subjects.
“I wanted to extend myself with the two year VCE option as a way of being able to do lots of different VCE subjects and try lots of different things without having to jam-pack my year,” she said.
In addition to working a casual job and studying, Alison played tenor saxophone in the school’s senior band and went with the band to China to play at an international music festival.
Damascus College school captain Sean O’Beirne was the city’s second highest scorer, opening his notification to find a score of 99.9.
Although receiving several scholarship offers from universities, he is still unsure what his future holds.
“I’ve got four or five different ideas for university but I haven’t made a decision. I think I’ve got the opportunity to start in something, then maybe transfer when I see where my passion really lies. Potentially I might do an arts degree and study politics and philosophy, or maybe law, but I also really love maths and languages so hopefully I can do a double degree to fit in as many interests as I can, then narrow it down later to a career,” he said.
Unlike many nervous students, Sean did not set his alarm early to be online at 7am.
“I decided I wouldn’t wake myself up early so when I woke up at 7.40am I found mum was sitting at the table waiting, so I made myself a coffee, clear my desk, gave it a few more minutes to build tension then took the phone in to my room to open it up – then mum and dad heard my excited gasp!”
Year 12 demands determination, hard work and resilience – not only for students but their teachers, parents, carers and friends. I thank all those who provided guidance and support, and helped students through this year.Education minister James Merlino
Like Sean, St Patrick’s College dux Sam Williams isn’t entirely sure what he will do next year.
Sam, who scored 99.05, was in Melbourne at an interview for his university accommodation next year when he received a congratulatory call from school.
“I wasn’t too nervous. The mark was already decided, and once you get to exams you’ve already done the work during year rather than the end,” he said.
Sam is hoping to be offered a place in a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University so he can start studying then decide on a future career.
Ballarat High School named two duxes for 2018 after students Manthila Ranatunga and Amy Bibby both scored 96.3. And the similarities don’t end there with both guaranteed positions in the Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University under the university’s Access Melbourne rural guarantee scheme.
Consistency was the key for the pair achieving high scores.
“At the start of the year it was a bit stressful then it got stressful again in term term three and toward the end but I mainly concentrated on school work,” Manthila said.
Ballarat Christian College dux Naomi McKee plans to take a gap year after scoring 93.1, with the first part of her year spent in Malawi working in local schools.
“I’m taking a gap year next year because I don’t really know what I want to do, but I’m going to Malawi in January on a mission trip going to help in local schools. One of my friends used to live there so I’m going back with her and her dad.
“When I come back I’ll work and maybe go to TAFE as I’m interest in health care type careers, but I’m not sure which one yet.”
Ballarat Clarendon College dux Jack Tuohey scored 99.75 which he will use to study biomedicine next year. He was one of 36 students at the school to achieve an ATAR over 95.
“I’m a bit surprised because I wasn’t happy with a few of my exams but it’s really good to see it come together after all the hard work,” he said. “Biomedicine has been my goal for a while as I’m very much interested in medical research.”
Woodman’s Hill Secondary College dux Natalie Treloar didn’t get much sleep before receiving her scores, and was relieved when they flashed in to her inbox a few minutes before 7am.
With a score of 88.4 she hopes to do a double degree in law and arts at Deakin University.
“Because I did legal studies in VCE, I really like to be very theory based and like to learn new things … but if I do an arts degree and law there’s more options,” she said.
Loreto College dux Fabienne Blythe believes choosing the subjects she loves helped her achieve a high ATAR of 98.65.
“Choose the subjects you love was the advice I was given and it does work. If you follow your passion and what you love you can work hard at it.”
It’s important to recognise that VCE is only one step in your life journey. There have never been more opportunities and pathways available to Year 12 graduates, including university, TAFE, traineeships and work.Education minister James Merlino
A career as a writer is on the cards with Fabienne hoping to study arts at Melbourne University and major in literature, her favourite subject.
Mount Rowan Secondary College dux Nick Cochrane knew he had to work all day on Friday and was undecided whether to open his results early.
“I wasn’t going to open it until after work as if it was a bad score I didn’t want to have a bad day, but curiosity got the better of me and I decided to open it and was speechless at the score I got.”
Nick hopes to study exercise and sports science at ACU in Melbourne and find a pathway in to physiotherapy.
Victorian Tertiary Admission Centre director Catherine Wills congratulated all students on their successful completion of the VCE. “All students should be incredibly proud of their achievements and now be looking forward to their future, whether that be tertiary study, employment, a gap year, work or travel,” she said.
The average ATAR across all Victorian students was 65.22 with an average of 66.29 for female students and 63.96 for males.
“Year 12 demands determination, hard work and resilience – not only for students but their teachers, parents, carers and friends. I thank all those who provided guidance and support, and helped students through this year,” said education minister James Merlino.
“It’s important to recognise that VCE is only one step in your life journey. There have never been more opportunities and pathways available to Year 12 graduates, including university, TAFE, traineeships and work.”
Meet Ballarat’s top-scoring VCE students
BALLARAT HIGH SCHOOL DUX
Name: Manthila Ranatunga
Subjects: English, maths methods, specialist maths, chemistry, physics, business management (completed 2017)
Advice: Take advantage of the holidays as study time, especially the start of the year and the term three holidays. In term three a lot of people take a huge break but you can work through that break and get ahead.
BALLARAT HIGH SCHOOL DUX
Name: Amy Bibby
Subjects: English, maths methods, specialist maths, Japanese, further maths and business management
Advice: Putting in a consistent effort throughout the year will go a long way toward what you want to achieve, rather than working as hard as you can at certain points of the year and burning out.
BALLARAT CHRISTIAN COLLEGE DUX
Name: Naomi McKee
Subjects: psychology (last year), physics, further maths, maths methods, english language and cert III in christian studies
Advice: Don’t take it too seriously. Everyone asks you what you want to do and it’s all right not to know.
BALLARAT CLARENDON COLLEGE DUX
Name: Jack Tuohey
Subjects: English, physics, chemistry, maths methods and specialist maths
Advice: I think most important thing for me was just to organise my time so I could get everything in. It’s very easy, if you’re not paying attention, to file things away and lose track of things and not get work done. It’s important to have a clear idea of how you’re going to get work done and how you’re going to go about it.
PHOENIX COLLEGE DUX
Name: Joel Dyer
Subjects: biology last year, literature, physics, chemistry, maths methods, specialist maths
Advice: Don’t think you always have time to do the things you haven’t done. You never have time, use every minute you have for yourself to be productive
WOODMAN’S HILL SECONDARY COLLEGE DUX
Name: Natalie Treloar
Subjects: english, food studies, art, psychology, further maths, legal studies (last year)
Advice: Just really ask questions when you’re not sure because teachers are there to help you. Study as much as possible make notes during the year instead of the end of the year.
BALLARAT GRAMMAR DUX
Name: Kimia Mohammadsaeedi
Subjects: english, biology, chemistry, maths methods, French and further maths
Advice: The most important part is understanding content, not just memorising it. If you put effort in at the start to understand why things work and question everything and make the most of your teachers then you are going to be a lot better off.
ST PATRICK’S COLLEGE
Name: Sam Williams
Subjects: specialist maths, maths methods, chemistry, physics, literature
Advice: Be consistent. Put the work in day in, day out. If you keep that work ethics up the results will become secondary to the process.
DAMASCUS COLLEGE DUX
Name: Sean O’Beirne
Subjects: literature, chemistry, maths methods, specialist maths, French, physics in 2017
Advice: The advice has all been said before but there’s no short cuts. People tell you to work hard and be dedicated and that’s the one true path to get there – apply yourself and you’ll get there.
MOUNT ROWAN SECONDARY COLLEGE DUX
Name: Nick Cochrane
Subjects: english, further maths, psychology, music performance and biology, health and human development last year
Advice: Make sure you are getting on top of your subjects, and use your time wisely in class and outside class.
MOUNT CLEAR SECONDARY COLLEGE DUX
Name: Alison Kemp
Subjects: english language, global politics, infomatics, VET hospitality, legal studies + chemistry, mazths methods and Japanese in 2017
Advice: Work hard because while this isn’t your only shot it’s a bit shot and also find your niche – that was really important for me find an area I really enjoy and delve in to that, which for me this year was law. What also kept me sane was running three times a week because otherwise I would have dissolved in to a mess – it gave me breathing space.
LORETO COLLEGE DUX
Name: Fabienne Blythe
Subjects: product design and technology, art, literature, global politics, French, biology
Advice: Choose subjects you love, which was the advice I was given and it does work. If you follow your passion and what you love you can work hard at it. And find a stress reliever – for me that was exercise and going to the gym.
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