Students celebrate VCE success

St Margarets and Berwick College principal Annette Rome with students James Agahi and Pranjal Pokhalekar. James achieved an ATAR of 94.95 and Pranjal received a 99.05. 202407_04

By Jessica Anstice and Mitchell Clarke

The anxious wait was finally over when Year 12 students across the state received their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) results on Thursday 12 December.

Students who received their results may go to university, TAFE, start an apprenticeship or traineeship, begin employment or take some time off for a gap year.

Education Minister James Merlino congratulated all the students, most of who received their results online.

“Completing VCE is an incredible moment and I congratulate the class of 2019 for reaching this milestone,” Mr Merlino said.

“Thank you to the parents, friends and teachers across the state who provided encouragement and guidance to help this year’s VCE and VCAL students reach this educational milestone.”

“For some students, this may not be the result you wished for but just remember that your results do not define you. There are many pathways to success including higher education, TAFE, traineeships and full-time work.”


Three Haileybury students achieved the highest possible ATAR of 99.95 as the school recorded its best results “by any measure”.

“Remarkably, 35.3 percent of all boys and girls were in the top five percent in Australia,” principal Derek Scott said.

“57.6 percent of Haileybury Girls College students and 52.2 percent of Haileybury College students achieved an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank in the top 10 percent in Australia.”

Mr Scott says the extraordinary results are testament to the students’ hard work and exceptional teaching.

“The results are a record for a Haileybury cohort and, by any measure, are at the very top of performances by Victorian and Australian schools,” he said.

“Haileybury is an open entry school and the achievement of 92.8 percent of all students being in the top 40 percent in Australia is an excellent reflection of the commitment to every student.

“Our school motto that every student matters every day is being lived and is reflected in students having the opportunity and the support to reach their potential.”

Kooweerup Secondary College

Kooweerup Secondary College had 94 percent of its VCAL students complete their certificate, with all of them moving on to either further study or employment.

Fourteen student received a study score of 40 or higher and 40 student received a study score of 36 or higher.

Two students received an ATAR in the 90s with eight students receiving an ATAR in the 80s.

“As a school we are immensely proud of our students’ achievements in both VCE and VCAL,” principal Felix Patton said.

“They have all worked hard to achieve results that will allow them to pursue their dreams of further study and employment pathways.”

Nossal High School

More than half of the Year 12 cohort at Nossal High School achieved an ATAR in the 90s and nine students received a score over 99.

Over 200 students from the select entry school in Berwick obtained their VCE, with 52 percent of students receiving a 90 or above for their ATAR.

More than a quarter of students recorded a result higher than 80, while 14 percent scored in the 70s.

The median ATAR was 90.3 while the mean study score was 35. From that, 22 percent of all study scores were over 40 while nine students, five from Year 11, achieved a perfect study score of 50.

Nossal’s 2019 Dux was Ruby Bai, who received a perfect score of 99.95, finding out the impressive news while holidaying in Paris.

Ruby was one of 37 students and one of only seven girls state-wide to achieve the perfect result.

“I am thrilled, this is truly unexpected,” Ruby said.

“I have had the best four years at Nossal, there is no way I’d be able to achieve this great result without all the wonderful staff and students who have supported me throughout my VCE journey.”

Nossal principal Roger Page told the Gazette he wasn’t surprised when he heard of Ruby’s remarkable result.

“It wasn’t a surprise, Ruby was such a delightful, hardworking and committed student,” he said.

“We’re very pleased for her. She’s a remarkably positive and active member of the school community.”

The school community gathered for a morning tea following the release of results on Thursday 12 December.

“We were joined by all the students that weren’t overseas travelling or still in bed,” Mr Page laughed.

“It was a great morning to see everyone and celebrate this achievement.

“I am honoured to have been able to share part of their educational journey and look forward to hearing of their future success and achievements.”

St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar

The St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar Dux for senior girls was Rachel Bright and Pranjal Pokhalekar who both achieved an ATAR of 99.05, for the senior boys, James Agahi achieved an ATAR of 94.95.

61 percent of the girls and 39 percent of the boys achieved an ATAR over 80, placing them in the top 20 percent of the nation.

27 percent of the girls and 18 percent of the boys achieved an ATAR over 90, placing them in the top 10 percent of the nation.

The median ATAR score for girls was 84 and 77 for boys.

Three perfect scores of 50 were attained in legal studies and language.

“2019 was an exciting and momentous year for the students at St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School,” principal Annette Rome said.

“They explored fresh opportunities, met new and different communities nationally and internationally and learnt more about themselves as learners, young people and global citizens through developing courage, curiosity, character and respect.

“We are particularly proud of our class of 2019 and congratulate the students for their contribution to school life, the broader community as well as their academic results.”

Beaconhills College

Beaconhills College is celebrating another successful year of VCE results at both its Pakenham and Berwick campuses.

Fourteen students achieved ATARs in the 90s, with college dux Sonia Lan (Berwick Campus) scoring 98.2.

Pakenham Campus Dux was Mariam Mostokly with 98.05.

In total, 264 Beaconhills students successfully completed their VCE.

The highest achieving students studied subjects such as maths, maths methods, chemistry and biology and a range of languages including Japanese, French, Arabic and Chinese second language advanced.

Dux Sonia Lan said she enjoyed every aspect of school, from igniting her interest in science at Grade 5, to joining the school band, debating and public speaking teams.

“All the teachers were really supportive and encouraged me to think about what I was passionate about,” said Sonia, who now hopes to study biomedicine at the University of Melbourne.

Year 11 student Sam Sail, one of the 2020 Pakenham Campus captains, had a perfect 50/50 subject score for Unit 3/4 physics.

Headmaster Tony Sheumack congratulated all students and said he was proud of their achievements.

“Our highlight again is the diversity of subjects undertaken by our top students,” Mr Sheumack said.

“We congratulate these students and everyone who has worked hard to achieve such wonderful results, including of course all parents and our team of very dedicated teaching staff.”

Kambrya College

Five students received an ATAR in the 90s, with 16 receiving an ATAR in the 80s.

College Dux was awarded to Tashia Britto, who scored an ATAR of 97.6.

Kambrya College has 99 percent of its Year 12 student obtain their VCE.

Almost five percent of student received a study score of higher than 40, and 18 percent scoring higher than 36. The average English study score was 30.5.

“This is our best ever overall result,” principal Keith Perry said.

“Whilst we’ve had a median of 30 in the past, our 40 plus study scores and our ATAR results are outstanding this year.

“Our teachers and students have worked very collaboratively to achieve this great result, in both our VCE and VCAL programs.”

Chairo Christan School Pakenham

Grace Van Rossen was up early and feeling quite anxious about accessing her VCE results on Thursday morning. However, her anxiety soon turned to relief when she discovered that she had achieved an ATAR of 95.75.

Chairo Christian School’s Pakenham campus principal Peter Wells, congratulated Grace on her outstanding results and informed her she was the highest achieving student at the campus.

Grace studied English, English literature, art, visual communication and design and history.

Commenting on her achievement, Mr Wells said, “Grace has been an exemplary student – dedicated yet balanced, ambitious yet humble.

“She is a creative student, and it’s great to see that students of the Arts can achieve such terrific results.”

While completing her studies to such a high standard, Grace also worked casually in retail and maintained her friendships throughout the year.

Her tips for other students completing their VCE include being confident and ‘knowing you can do this’, but also taking on every piece of feedback offered. She said, “Even when it’s harsh, it will help you.”

Grace also acknowledged how supportive and understanding the teachers at Chairo were, really appreciating the opportunities that she was given by the school.

With a world of possibilities in terms of future courses, Grace is hoping to get into a double degree: Bachelor of Social Work/Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) at RMIT.

Ultimately, she would like to be serving the community, perhaps in the not-for-profit sector. She said she will always have an interest in Art and Design.

Mr Wells also expressed his pleasure at seeing the steady improvement of VCE results at Chairo’s Pakenham campus, with the mean ATAR score increasing from year to year.

“We are delighted that so many students have completed their Year 12, some of whom have faced significant challenges in their education,” he said.

“We have a number of students for whom English is their second language, some who have experienced learning difficulties and some who have migrated to Australia from difficult backgrounds.

“Many have now exceeded the education level of their parents and will be well-equipped for future courses and careers, and to have a positive impact in the community.”

Heritage College

With a small 2019 cohort, just 12 students set out to obtain their VCE and all successfully received their certificate.

The Dux of the school was student Jake Locop, who recorded an impressive score over 90.

VCE coordinator Elyse Taylor said Mr Locop joined the VCE program in 2018.

“Averaging High Distinction marks across all subjects as well as earning Dux 2019 is a credit to the hard work he has put in to achieve the results, as well as the strength of the program here at Heritage College,” Ms Taylor said.

Over the last few years, Heritage has seen steady improvement in the average results achieved and in 2019, the school recorded two study scores over 40 and six scores over 35.

The mean English score at Heritage was 27 while the mode score was 29.

“We’ve made it our goal at Heritage College not to let students feel that school ends with a number,” Ms Taylor said.

“We choose not to measure individual success only by the ATAR or study score a student obtains, but rather to focus on where their learning journey will enable them to go next.”

Heritage school captain Alana Saluni received a guarantee from Monash University earlier this week, confirming her results will secure her first preference in a Bachelor of Business.

Meanwhile, Jake Locop is set to head to Otago University in New Zealand to study medicine.

“As proud as we are when a student achieves an excellent score, that number is meaningful for such a short time in their lives,” Ms Taylor said.

“Helping students securing an offer of a place in their preferred Tertiary course or employment in their career field will always be our focus.”

Berwick College

It’s a combination many only dream of but for Berwick College’s 2019 Dux Bec Henderson, she has both the smarts and the sports.

Receiving an impressive ATAR of 97.3, Bec was actually on her way to the Gold Coast with Triathlon Victoria to compete in one of the National Series when she found out about her incredible score.

“It was a highly emotional day for us with Bec achieving such a high ATAR and then later on finding out she had in fact achieved the Dux of the school,” mother Cathy said.

Competing at a national level in Triathlon, Bec was the Triathlon Victoria Junior Athlete for 2019, but she still managed to find the time to balance studies with sport.

“She has always put her studies as a high priority and has achieved outstanding application and academic excellence awards at every single awards night,” a Berwick College spokesperson said.

Speaking to her incredibly proud family, 2019 had been a tough year for the family, with Bec’s father suffering medical conditions, making her ATAR score all the more sweeter.

“Whilst Bec has always been a diligent student, we never though she could achieve the title of Dux as she is also so committed to her sport and we like her having that balance in her life,” Cathy added.

“We were confident that she would do well especially as she had completed 2 Year 12 subjects last year and scored really well but we were not expecting the 97.3.

“It was really just a feeling of pure joy that all her hard work and dedication had paid off.”

At Berwick Secondary, 160 students obtained their VCE, with seven students receiving over 90 and 20 students receiving above 80.19 students recorded a study score of 40 or higher and the average English score was 29.2.

Emerald Secondary College

Seven students from Emerald Secondary College scored an ATAR in the 90s, with the college Dux being awarded to Magnus Bock, with an impressive 98.5.

The median study score was 29, with English scores at 30.55. 4.3 percent of scores were more than 40 including a score of 49 in Further Maths.

The best results were obtained in English and Revolutions, with significant gains in Biology, Business Management, Further Maths, Literature, Music and P.E.

“Emerald Secondary College is so proud of all its Year 12 cohort of students that undertook both the VCE and VCAL,” acting principal James Barut said.

“These are outstanding results that reflect how collaboratively the entire learning community came together, to achieve these fantastic outcomes.”

St Francis Xavier College and Pakenham Secondary College were also contacted.


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