2020 ATAR success stories
Chuting (Tina) Tang - Balwyn High School
|Hangzhou, China||Reading, swimming, writing, and watching TV||English as an Additional Language (EAL), Maths Methods, Specialist Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Chinese First Language||99.95|
"As an international student, I was so glad to have the chance to study in Melbourne, and especially, in Balwyn High School. It was so exciting to see the '99.95' on my screen and I know that it would be an impossible ATAR to obtain without the support from my teachers and classmates. 2020 has been a tough year, but Victorian students all have worked very hard. So I want to tell future VCE students that, as long as you try your best with constant effort, nothing is impossible.", said Tina.
In the most tumultuous year 2020, Tina felt fine overall but the biggest challenge for her was to adapt to remote learning. She overcame this challenge by planning out her daily learning schedule every morning so she could continue learning effectively outside the school.
In 2020, Tina was the winner of the Year 11 Academic Excellence and Student Leadership Awards at the Victorian Global Learning Awards in recognition of achieving her academic goals and also getting involved in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. See, Victorian Global Learning Awards.
Tina is an outstanding scholar who has won many awards for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Chinese Language and Public Speaking. As a student ambassador, Tina uses her strong communication skills in both Chinese and English to guide parents and visitors on tours of the school. She also holds a first aid certificate and was a youth volunteer with St John Ambulance, as well as a registered volunteer with the Overseas Chinese Education Foundation (OCEF), helping underprivileged children in rural China to access education.
"I believe it is important to force yourself to overcome the problems you met as a leader, and your confidence will accumulate through your leadership journey.", said Tina.
Balwyn High School's principal, Deborah Harman, said, "She has impressed her fellow participants with her intelligence, work ethic and appreciation of global issues and solutions. She has been a wonderful student leader at Balwyn High School and has positively impacted on current and future ISP students that follow her."
Tina's first preference is Medicine (including a Master's degree) at Monash University in 2021.
Thao Phuong Dao - Braybrook College
|Quang Ninh, Vietnam||Travelling||English as an Additional Language (EAL), Specialist Mathematics, Mathematical Methods, Vietnamese First Language, Accounting and Business Management||97.80|
"Thanks to a versatile and diverse curriculum coupled with tremendous support towards international students from the school and the Department of Education as a whole, now, after 2 years of studies here, I can honestly say that my study journey couldn't be better.", said Thao Phuong with her VCE experience.
2020 has been an extraordinarily challenging for Year 12 students. Students had to undertake mandatory remote learning, which interrupted Thao Phuong's study to a great degree. Along with it, her workplace was closed during the lockdown and as an overseas student visa holder, she was not eligible for the JobKeeper payment. In spite of this hardship, Thao Phuong managed to graduate with an incredible ATAR and became the Academic Achievement Award Recipient of her school.
"These accomplishments would not been achieved without the wholehearted support from my school and family. I'm currently having two part-time jobs in order to save up for school fees, while awaiting other offers and scholarships. This foregone stressful year has definitely served to strengthen my perseverance to pursue my future academic and personal goals.", said Thao Phuong with her experience in 2020.
Thao Phuong is planning to do Computer Science at university.
Zihan (Hanson) Tang – Warrandyte High School
|Nanjing, China||Playing basketball and chess||Maths Methods, Specialist Maths, Physics, Chinese, English as an Additional Language (EAL) and Chemistry||98.45|
Hanson received a lot of support from his teachers and staff at Warrandyte High school. "They are very kind and gave me courage and motivation to perform at this height. I went pretty well last year and faced few challenges with the help and care from teachers.", said Zihan.
Warrandyte High School's Assistant Principal, Joe Caruana, commented: "We are so very proud of Hanson, our international student."
Zihan is keen to study Commerce/Economics and Business at the University of Melbourne.
Sara Youssef – Frankston High School
|Menofia, Egypt||Reading||English as an Additional Language (EAL), Biology, Maths Further, Maths Methods, Health and Human Development and Chemistry||89.75|
The conclusion to Sara's Frankston High School story is one of success which was due to her persistence and the empathy that she has extended to others. Sara has always thought education is power and she can change anything with it. She also thought of her family who worked hard to bring her here and wanted to show them that their work had paid off. Sara overcame these challenges through the support of her teachers and most importantly changing her mindset and attitude.
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.", said Sara.
Frankston High School's International Student Coordinator, Sharon Koning, said: "Sara was always focused on her study and worked to the best of her ability at all times. I also had the opportunity of seeing Sara outside of school as she worked part-time in the local pharmacy and balanced this with her Year 12 study until near the end of the year and needed to have a few weeks from this to focus on her exams. Her customer service and friendly, polite manner were evident both at school and in employment. Our school wishes Sara all the best in her future study and we are very proud of her achievements and attitude to study and life."
Frankston High School staff commented that Sara should be most proud of her growth as a person and her integrity, and thanked her for the enduring legacy she has left at school.
Sara wants to do Medicine at university and intends to do Nursing to see what type of area is of most interest to her.
Nicharee (Pingping) Scrichan – Rowville Secondary College
|Koh Samui, Thailand||Photography, cooking and science and health science||English as an Additional Language (EAL), Further Mathematics, Maths Methods, Biology, and Chemistry||91.2|
"2020 was a year which allowed me to mature so much both as a student and a person. I am thankful for how well my school had dealt with the challenges which came with remote learning and a lesson learnt is that life is unexpected and will throw curveballs at you, you just have to try your best to overcome it and everything will eventually be fine. My advice for prospective international students is if you are given an amazing opportunity to study abroad, just go for it. There will be obstacles but that is what makes you become a resilient person. Coming into a foreign country is scary but you will soon learn how to adapt to living here, good luck.", said Pingping.
Pingping was so used to face-to-face learning that she initially found herself distracted and unmotivated during the remote learning period. She soon adapted quickly with a positive outlook and attitude and achieved her desired result.
"To overcome this, I would tell myself that it is my last year of high school after all, if I'm not motivated then I'm not going to perform my best and will end up being disappointed when I don't get the desired results or get into the course that I've aimed for. Even more, all the year 12's will get their well-deserved 3 months (or longer) break at the end of the year so work smart and you will get to relax soon enough. Positive and encouraging self-talk has helped me most of the time to overcome laziness or loss of motivation and it pushes me to move forward and strive for the best.", said Pingping.
Pingping has accepted a Monash Scholars Program offer in Nursing at Monash University.