Lockdowns, Awards, Celebration and Optimism

Congratulations to Carey’s Class of 2020 students Thomas Nheu (pictured above) and Maddy Collins, who were among the group of 297 top-performing VCE students receiving a Premier’s VCE Award this year. Sadly, COVID restrictions meant the annual event, scheduled for the end of last month, could not be held.

Thomas was one of 23 Top All-Round VCE High Achievers. This award is given to students who have achieved study scores of 46 or higher in at least five VCE studies. A remarkable achievement, as subjects are marked out of a total possible 50 and only 2% of results in each subject are 44 or above. Maddy was one of only three students to receive an award for Australian History.

Maddy and Thomas received numerous academic awards while at school. They were also actively engaged in a broad range of co-curricular activities and received major awards in recognition of those contributions at the Year 12 Awards and Celebration Event last year. Both continue to lead active lives and pursue a variety of interests.

Below are brief comments from Maddy and Thomas in response to my request for a bit of an update on what they are doing this year.

Maddy: I enrolled in the double degree of nursing and midwifery at Deakin University at the beginning of this year which I loved. However, I wanted to take some time to relax and get back into the right mindset for study, and really just take some time to myself, so after first semester I intermitted my studies and am currently working at Glengower farm (pictured below). I am captain of the inaugural women’s football team at the Olinda Football Club and we have made it to the grand final in our first season which is very exciting. I plan to buy a 4x4 and road trip later in this year/early next year and learn more about Australian Indigenous culture.

Thomas: My 2021 has been full of both excitement and disappointments so far, but it’s been a crazy ride all in all! I’ve started my first year at Monash University studying the Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine, which has kept me very busy, but has never failed to intrigue and excite me. Uni life has taken some time to get used to, but I’m really enjoying the extra freedom I have to play more music and tennis. Unfortunately, with all the COVID-19 disruptions and lockdowns, it’s been hard to enjoy these opportunities to their fullest, but I’m eager to see what the rest of the year has to offer!

Maddie’s and Thomas’s responses reminded me of something I included in my address at the Year 12 Awards and Celebration in October last year. At the time, I commented that our Year 12 students are ‘better prepared than any previous group of students for the future and better prepared to transition to study beyond school’.

Thankfully, our current students, unlike those who finished school last year, have not spent most (if not all) of this year studying online. At the same time, my observation that last year’s Year 12 students are better prepared than any previous group also holds true for our 2021 Year 12 students. While not the preferred mode of learning for most, we have all become more adept and comfortable operating online. And as our Careers Counsellors commented recently, COVID largely did not disrupt the tertiary plans of our Year 12 students last year, and our current Year 12s are more confident and optimistic when making plans for next year.

Graeme Young
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Learning

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