By Kyra Gillespie
If Cardinia stopped to listen, a few hundred sighs of relief would no doubt have been heard across the region from students and teachers alike following the release of the 2018 VCE results.
At 7am on Friday 14 December laptops were fired up and phones switched on as pupils logged on to learn their Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) scores.
For many, the day marked the official end of exams and a farewell to 13 years of schooling.
Chairo Christian School Pakenham dux Emily Lowe awoke on Friday to learn she had topped the class with an ATAR of 92.7.
The Pakenham pupil commenced at Chairo in kindergarten before her family set out on a missionary career that took them to Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, and then overseas to East Timor, before she returned to Pakenham to undertake VCE.
The years of home-schooling proved challenging for Emily, however, she said specialist learning support intervention and assistance from her teachers made her relocation back into mainstream schooling easier.
One of Emily’s tips for upcoming students is to: “buy a whiteboard for your bedroom and use it for revision, making study active rather than passive. And, don’t leave things until the last minute!” she said.
Principal Peter Wells said the school is “thrilled” with Emily’s achievement.
“Emily worked really hard and we’re thrilled with her achievement. We also commend the many other students who worked diligently to satisfactorily complete their VCE, enabling a 100 per cent completion rate at the campus,” he said.
“We are pleased to see our results steadily improving over time, and it’s great to see students graduating with many possibilities for further study, work and service to their community.”
Ten Beaconhills College graduates have achieved ATARs of 95 or higher, thanks to their hard work and the ability to select from a huge range of VCE subjects, according to Headmaster Tony Sheumack.
The College Dux, Olivia Acciarito from the Pakenham Campus, recorded the highest ATAR in 10 years with 99.75 and a perfect 50 in three subjects – English, Legal Studies and Visual Communication Design.
Berwick Campus Dux was Monique Scalzo with 98.2, while Berwick student Victoria Tiplady also scored a 50 in Outdoor and Environmental Studies.
A delighted Mr Sheumack attributed the College’s best VCE results in years to students following their passion, choosing from 41 different subject offerings.
“Beaconhills is a learning community, where students can choose the subjects they love and follow their interests,” Mr Sheumack said. “If students are really passionate about what they do and work hard, good results will naturally follow.”
“No matter which path students at Beaconhills take, we have the framework in place to help them achieve their personal best.
“From either scored or school-assessed VCE, our students have options to go to university or other tertiary institutions, TAFE, take a gap year or head straight to the workforce.
“I am extremely proud that as an open-entry College offering genuine diversity of choice, our students can pursue a variety of career pathways.”
Dux Olivia Acciarito is planning to do a double degree in Law and Global Studies and hopes to become a human rights lawyer. She said Year 12 had its occasional challenges, such as working out – at times – which study areas to prioritise.
“But I never really had a set study strategy,” she said. “I made a set of flash cards and didn’t use them!”
“I loved all my teachers; they were all extremely helpful and just great teachers in general.”
Lakeside College congratulates their college dux Braiden Fernando on his ATAR of 95.25.
Braiden was among a smaller cohort of 26 students who concluded their educational journey in 2018.
“Braiden benefited from the rich relationships that come from being part of a smaller school environment where close relationships between students, staff and parents support achievement,” College Principal Tom Brennen said.
“We congratulate all of our graduating students on their results and keep them in our prayers as many await news of acceptance into their post-school pathway of choice.”
Brooke O’Brien, who returned an ATAR score of 99.25, said she was “very shocked and surprised” but very happy when she not only received her score but when she was told she was the College Dux of St. Francis Xavier College.
Brooke sat her first VCE back in Year 10 when she completed Japanese then in Year 11 she sat her History and Religion VCE’s leaving only 3 VCE’s for Year 12.
She now has the choice of her first two preferences for university to consider; a degree in Arts at Melbourne University or a Double degree in Arts and Law and Monash University.
Jayarupi Pahala Vithana received an ATAR of 99.35, the highest score at St Margaret’s School and Pamod Suriyage received an ATAR of 99.0, the highest at Berwick Grammar School.
Thirty-five percent of the girls and 17 percent of the boys achieved an ATAR of over 90 and 54 percent of the girls and 52 percent of the boys achieved an ATAR over 80.
The median ATAR for senior girls was 83 and for the senior boys was 80.4.
There were two perfect scores of 50 in history revolutions and computing informatics.
“The students have worked towards achieving their best in all they do both inside the classroom and beyond,” St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School principal Annette Rome said.
“They have played sport, musical instruments, debated and worked towards demonstrating leadership of self and others.
“Most importantly our senior students have endeavoured to be good citizens and role models for younger students and in the broader community.”
Janelle Rajasingham came out on top as the Dux of St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School, achieving an outstanding ATAR of 99.15.
Pakenham Secondary College Principal Ray Squires praised the hard work of the Year 12 cohort.
“The school is proud of the effort displayed by students and the results achieved,” he said.
“Many of our graduates will be able to follow their choice of careers with the outcomes secured.”
The Gazette has not yet received VCE results from the other secondary schools across Cardinia Shire.