From Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning, Ms Gabrielle Smith
On Thursday 11 February 2021 Waverley College held its annual HSC High Achievers Assembly in the Gymnasium, attended by our College community. This reverent assembly, heralded by our brass ensemble and gowned academic procession, sets the tone for the academic year ahead. Always a memorable event in the Waverley calendar, it not only welcomes back and celebrates our bright stars, but challenges each of us to reflect on the nature of learning, and what we aspire to become.
Expressive photographic images of 2020 Year 12 students played on the big screens as students entered the Gym. It is imperative to remember that the cohort of 2020 undertook their significant HSC year during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. These senior students withstood ongoing learning disruption and challenges, which they handled with patience and maturity.
In 2020, these 164 students selected their own pathway to complete Year 12. Whether they chose HSC plus ATAR or HSC Vocational, each student’s journey was unique, and as a College we celebrate the individual efforts and milestones accomplished.
Special Achievement Award certificates were presented to Year 11 Accelerated Mathematics students who received a Band 6 in the Advanced Mathematics HSC exam, as well as awards for Year 12 2020 Creative Arts nominations.
College Captain Peter Stamatelatos and Vice Captain Charles Harris read the Roll Call of Academic Honour for ATARs of 90+ with awards presented by the Principal, Mr Leddie and Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning Mrs Smith. We were impressed by the wide variety of courses these students will be studying at university in 2021 and beyond.
Two of our charismatic 2020 graduates addressed the assembly at the lectern. We were inspired by Matthew Brock, the highest ATAR recipient, who when introduced was given a rousing applause for his sparkling achievements. Matthew spoke engagingly about the nature of motivation during the HSC. Plainly and humorously, he explained how tricky it was for him to offer advice on the subject, which brought knowing smiles to the faces of many parents.
What did Matthew learn about learning during the HSC?
“In time the thing holding everyone back is not their intelligence or the time that they have to study or work towards a goal. It is the lack of motivation that plagues our ability to get better and improve.”
His advice for Waverley students?
“I suggest for you to have a think about who you want to become in the next ten years. Using this archetype and dream to justify the why? When thinking about studying and school work.”
Matthew was also surprisingly philosophical about his ATAR mark, reminding students that aiming high develops priceless self-confidence:
“In the end, the numbers that you receive don’t define you, but the confidence that you create from showing yourself what you are capable of, provides something infinitely more valuable than any ATAR.”
2020 graduate Valentius Wirjana also delivered an uplifting speech, enhanced by images on the big screens of his ambitious desalination major design project. He admitted that he personally struggled to find the motivation to start his project and to avoid procrastinating.
His key tips for students?
“Break it up and just start it. This applies to most assignments really and not just the larger tasks like the major work. What I figured out was that if you trick your brain to visualise a large task as a series of smaller tasks, it was that much easier to actually make progress on the assignment. This breaking down of the task, paired with consistency, is pretty much the key to the HSC.”
Valentius strongly endorsed time management:
“Balance your time. I’m sure most of you would already know this but balancing your social life, school work and sports is crucial for a smooth HSC and life in general.”
Both Matthew and Valentius thanked teachers, mentors and parents for genuinely investing time into their and their classmates’ futures during the demanding HSC year.
The 2020 HSC High Achievers Honour Roll is here.
The Inaugural Percy Watson Scholarship for Teaching Excellence
Students weren’t the only recipients of prestigious awards, and we were delighted that Old Boy Dr Walter Jarvis (Waverley College Captain 1965-66) could also join us as guest speaker. He presented the inaugural Percy Watson Scholarship for Teaching Excellence, awarded to PDHPE educator Belinda Buchan, who completed her masters degree in Educational Leadership at UNSW in 2020.
Congratulations Ms Buchan!
Following the ceremony, our graduates enjoyed a congratulatory morning tea on the level 5 rooftop, with students invited afterwards to a Q & A session with the current Year 12 students in the PAC. We wish each and every one of our graduates our very best wishes for their future learning and life endeavours, and know that their holistic education at Waverley will be the bedrock on which they can firmly stand.