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Healthy outlook for high achievers


Medicine, optometry, dentistry and other health related degrees are proving the most popular choices for the top students from the Class of 2019.

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Last year a total of 3455 students from 34 Catholic schools graduated, resulting in a 99.54 per cent SACE completion rate. Overall there were 6068 results achieved in the A Band, with 312 merit certificates being awarded to 269 students.

Many of those who were named dux or proxime accessit of their college told The Southern Cross they were hoping to study a health related degree at university this year, with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery the most popular.

Kate Roocke, proxime accessit of St Aloysius College, said for some years it had been her “dream” to become a paramedic and she was thrilled that she had been accepted into the Flinders University course.

Dux of St Mary’s College, Caitlin Wyman, is looking forward to undertaking a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Flinders University, while Andy Nguyen, proxime accessit at Thomas More College, hopes to study medical imaging at UniSA.

University study in the fields of engineering and mathematics was the preferred choice for several of the top students, with others keen to pursue their interest in humanities, languages and teaching.

Luke Rainey, proxime accessit of St Paul’s College, intends to spend the coming year working in order to gain “life experience” so he can enlist in the Defence Force.

The graduating students offered their tips for surviving and excelling in Year 12.

Spending time with friends, leaning on the support provided by their family and making sure they participated in extra-curricular activities such as sport and music were all on the list of ‘must dos’.

Trying not to procrastinate too much, good time management skills and developing appropriate study habits were also keys to success.

Ayman Shaawi, joint proxime accessit at Cardijn College said he encountered “obstacles” during the year mainly due to his “lax” study habits.

“However, with the support of my parents and brother I was able to work on these habits and increase my work ethic. My advice for Year 12s it to build up good habits, have a great work ethic and to pace yourself, take time to relax once in a while, but also keep focused,” he said.

Ayman, who hopes to study a double degree in engineering (electrical and electronic) and mathematical and computer science, said his commitments during the year included altar service every Sunday and training on Tuesdays at Mary Help of Christians Church, Morphett Vale, as well as working at McDonald’s and playing tennis.

Several of the students who achieved outstanding results spoke of juggling leadership duties at their colleges with their studies.

Declan Fitch-Woolford, proxime accessit at Blackfriars Priory School, described Year 12 as an “enormous year of academic pressure, personal development and the formation of lifelong relationships”.

“Strong relationships with my peers, participation in the Blackfriars Stage Band and my role as head prefect were vital in providing me with a balanced lifestyle while dedicating large amounts of time to my studies,” he said.

Margot Hall, who completed the International Baccalaureate diploma and was joint dux of Mercedes College, said while managing basketball commitments alongside her role as college captain was “often difficult” it taught her the importance of “maintaining balance”.

“I would encourage any future students to continue to make time for activities they enjoy and challenge themselves by undertaking new roles throughout Year 12,” she said.

For some, the completion of Year 12 was the culmination of a very long journey.

Ali Rahimi, a Hazara refugee from Afghanistan and dux of Thomas More College, said he had to overcome many challenges since arriving in Australia.

“At times when it would become difficult and overwhelming (in Year 12) I would recall where I came from and the sacrifices my family made to ensure a bright future ahead of me.

“Coming from an uneducated background and unable to speak English was difficult. It was important for me to study hard and persevere through hardships…the path to my destiny paved through the power of education, hard work and resilience.”

Catholic Education SA director Dr Neil McGoran congratulated all Year 12 students on their “focus and determination”.

“I also express my thanks to the teachers and the students’ families who have supported them throughout this year and, indeed, throughout their 13 years of schooling,” he said.


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