Big day for top students

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 15-Dec-2017

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CCB's Imogen Sexton (left), Jessica McCarthy (centre) and Lillian Maher. Photo: Andrew Perryman.
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THE nervous wait for school leavers to find out their VCE results ended this morning, when the 2017 ATAR results were released.

Girton Grammar School student Alexander Nielsen has topped the list of local year 12 graduates, recording a "perfect" score of 99.95.

Nielsen’s score was as high as any student can achieve in the ATAR system.

All five of the school’s top achievers were male students, while at Catholic College Bendigo it was a very different picture.

CCB had three female students top its charts, with Jessica McCarthy leading the way with a score of 98.55 narrowly ahead of Imogen Sexton (97.95) and Lillian Maher (97.9).

Bendigo Senior Secondary College also celebrated its high achievers today, and split the other two schools with an even gender mix among its top contingent. 

College dux Rory Day scored 98.7, Kate Salvador came in nextat 97.55 and there were several above 95, including Joe Kenny and Caitlin Allman.

Along with five students scoring above 99 led by Nielsen (pictured above, centre) more than a third of Girton’s year 12 students topped a score of 90, which headmaster Matthew Maruff said was a tremendous result.

He paid tribute to not only the efforts of students, but “our extremely dedicated and professional” staff and the families of students.

“Contrary to what a lot of people think, we don’t talk to them about their results. We talk to them about the learning that matters and that intellectual curiosity,” he said.

“We are thrilled with the results and very proud of the students, the staff and their families.”

It was a similar theme at CCB, where the top three students were also successful in a variety of pursuits away from their studies.

“Jessica was the 2017 Musician of the Year and recently performed at our college presentation evening. Imogen received the Ledwidge Medal, our best and fairest award, for her contribution to the senior netball team who were state runners up in the School Sport Victoria competition,” principal Brian Turner said.

“Just this morning, Lillian has heard that she has been awarded a Vice-Chancellor's academic excellence scholarship to Deakin University.”

It isn’t just in their year 12 efforts that the students vary greatly, but also in their approach to further study.


BSSC dux Rory is taking a gap year to “just take a break from it all” and Joe is following the same path, while Kate and Caitlin (all pictured above) are hoping to study bio-medicine.

Common among them was a broad range of subjects and outside interests, and the need for a balance between studies and life away from school.

Alex Nielsen was involved in Girton’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream while Catholic College dux Jessica was heavily involved in music.

And even on the day of receiving his results, Rory had to cut his shift at work short to head to BSSC one final time.

It was also within their subjects that variety proved key.

“There was quite a broad range and even within my study I had different areas and interests, so you don’t get bogged down,” Jessica said.

Despite some excellent results across the three schools, perhaps the most important thing for all students is to apply perspective to whatever result they achieve.

“It is easy to get swept up in the juggernaut of ATAR, thinking it is all-important and will run the rest of your life,” CCB careers practitioner Ben Goode said.

“It will not. If you get the desired ATAR to get into your course, excellent.

“If not, there are numerous pathways through other courses at the same or other institutions.

“The most important thing is to take stock of the day, review your preferences and do not change them based on what you think you will get into, but rather what you want to get into.”

All schools advised students who may need advice regarding their results to get in touch with careers staff.

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